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Settlement reached in lawsuit against Vulcans

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Three female bartenders who alleged they were groped have settled their lawsuits against the St. Paul Winter Carnival and its 2005 Vulcan King, their attorneys have confirmed.

Bartenders Jamie Kissel and Kate Richardson claimed in a lawsuit filed in October 2006 that then-Vulcan King Tom Trudeau groped their breasts and genitals at Alary’s Bar during the Vulcan Krewe’s "garter ritual."

In 2005, Trudeau pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the incident and was sentenced to probation and community service.

While the women’s lawsuit sought more than $50,000 in damages, their attorney, Lori Peterson, would not say Thursday how much money they received in the settlement because the settlement was confidential.

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The lawsuit brought by a third bartender, Cassandra Lee, was resolved last summer. That also involved a confidentiality agreement "and I am of course not going to violate it," said attorney Bob Espeset.

The Winter Carnival made several changes after the incident, including a ban on the Vulcan Krewe from performing the garter ritual and not allowing carnival royalty to drink alcohol except at the end of the day’s schedule. Also, scheduled appearances by the royalty must be approved by carnival staff.

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