Animal shelter employee details alleged assaults, harassment by director

Shohola. Selina McGinnis says she needs an order of protection after Barry Heim “grabbed my wrist so hard to burst the vessels and slid my shoulder out.”

| 25 Jun 2021 | 03:13

In records obtained from the Pike County Court of Common Pleas, Pike County Humane Society employee Selina McGinnis accuses its director, Barry Heim, of repeated physical assaults and sexual harassment.

Heim told the Courier at a June 23 court hearing before Judge Kelly Gaughan that he has done nothing wrong and that McGinnis is making a “power play” because “she wants control.” His lawyer, Michael Galasso, said Heim “has not been accused of sexual assault as defined in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code,” which he said “has a very specific definition under Pennsylvania law.”

In the 11-page civil suit and petition for the protection of victims of sexual violence, which may be read here (these documents include explicit language), McGinnis, 20, of Shohola said Heim assaulted her repeatedly, grabbing her arm and wrist, trying to hug her, and touching her buttocks.

McGinnis says she needs an order of protection because on June 7 Heim “assaulted me/grabbed my wrist so hard to burst the vessels and slid my shoulder out. He’s not all there.”

She said the alleged assaults were exacerbated by her frailty (she told the Courier that she has Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a hereditary vascular disease that gives her fragile, easily bruised skin), to which he allegedly alluded with comments like, “What are you, a size 0?,” “I bet the guys break you,” and, “I’ll bet you’re skinny because of all the guys you chase.”

McGinnis said that at the end of 2019 and going into 2020, Heim invited her to go to his house “five or six times,” and that she found him there naked. “I walk out,” she wrote in her petition.

She accuses Heim of asking her how many men she has slept with and to massage his buttocks.

McGinnis alleges that Heim has threatened to have her disability status revoked and asked her “Wanna play the game?”

McGinnis further alleges that Heim kicks dogs at the shelter and hits them with a shovel, screams, and curses.

She said the incidents of abuse she outlines happened between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. during workdays at the shelter.

This week’s hearing was postponed until Wednesday, July 14. McGinnis is being represented by attorney Jeffrey L. Earline, who provides legal representation for clients of the Victims’ Intervention Program of Wayne and Pike Counties. VIP advocates for the surviving members of homicide and victims of sexual assault, and labor trafficking victims, DUI crashes and DUI homicides, bullying, child abuse, elder abuse, and stalking and harassment, and identity theft, among other crimes.