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Family of slain Madison woman sues employer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The family of a Madison woman who was fatally shot by her co-worker is suing the grocery store where she worked for allegedly knowing about her killer's behavior of harassing female employees and failing to protect her.

Caroline Nosal's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last week against Metro Market and its owners, three years after the 24-year-old was killed outside the store, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Former co-worker Christopher O'Kroley was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree intentional homicide for Nosal's 2016 slaying. He killed himself at Waupun Correctional Institution in 2017.

According to the family's lawsuit, Metro Market's owners and managers knew that O'Kroley had harassed female co-workers and was accused of sexually assaulting one of them. The lawsuit alleges that the owners failed to warn Nosal about O'Kroley's behavior toward female employees.

Nosal's family is also accusing the store of failing to properly supervise or investigate O'Kroley after learning of his behavior.

"The tragic events of that night would not have happened had defendants properly hired, trained and supervised O'Kroley, who had been the subject of multiple complaints by other female employees for his predatory and threatening behavior," the lawsuit states.

Laurie Peterson, a lawyer representing Metro Market and its parent companies, said the company declines to comment on pending litigation.

The family's lawsuit alleges that Nosal told the store that O'Kroley had sent her threatening messages just over a week before she died. The lawsuit also alleges that a manager was told over email that a female co-worker had accused O'Kroley of sexual assault several weeks earlier. O'Kroley was taken from the store in handcuffs because of the sexual assault allegations, the lawsuit states.

State law allows employers to suspend workers pending the outcome of criminal charges. Metro Market didn't immediately do so, according to the lawsuit.

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