Donald Duck sued over groping allegations

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The Associated Press

A Pennsylvania woman who claims Donald Duck groped her at Disney’s Epcot theme park can have her day in court, a federal judge has ruled. Disney must defend itself against April Magolon’s claims that the character grabbed her breast as she held her child at the Walt Disney World park and then joked about it.

Magolon, 27, of Upper Darby, claims the May 2008 encounter left her with post-traumatic stress in the form of nightmares, digestive problems and other permanent injuries. Her lawsuit also charges that Disney parks have a history of fondling complaints involving workers, and that Disney has “condoned” their actions, putting profits over public safety.

In court papers, the defense argued that Magolon sued the wrong Disney corporate entity and asked the judge to dismiss the suit or move it to Florida, where the encounter took place.

But U.S. District Judge John R. Padova refused, saying Magolon can proceed in Pennsylvania. “She, her fiancée (who was a witness to the alleged assault), and her treating doctors are all located in Pennsylvania,” Padova wrote in a Dec. 29 ruling.

Disney also has greater resources to try the case in Pennsylvania than Magolon does to try it in Florida, he said.

Magolon does not have a listed phone number, and her lawyer did not immediately return calls for comment Monday on the ruling. Disney will comment only through the court proceedings, Walt Disney World spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.

According to Magolon’s lawsuit, authorities in Florida received 24 related complaints in the week after a Walt Disney World employee dressed as “Tigger” was charged with molesting a 13-year-old girl and her mother in 2004. At least some were deemed credible and investigated by police, the suit said.

The man playing “Tigger” was later acquitted of criminal wrongdoing, after his lawyer donned the Tigger costume in court and argued that his client couldn’t see much.

On the flip side, a 60-year-old Pennsylvania man was convicted last year of groping a woman in a Minnie Mouse costume at Walt Disney World.John William Moyer, of Cressona, insisted he was innocent. But a Florida judge sentenced him to probation, community service and $1,000 court costs for misdemeanor battery.

The victim said she had to do everything possible to keep Moyer’s hands off her breasts.

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Comments (3)
  1. JoAnn Blake says:

    She has PTSD, nightmares and digestive disorders from this?!! Sounds bogus.
    What often happens is that people attack the Disney characters at the park and cause them serious physical injuries, like banging them in the head and twisting their arms. It’s hard for them to respond because of the costumes.

  2. Mike Dubelko says:

    Sounds like she’s a publicity seeker, or some personal injury lawyer convinced her that she could collect some serious money on Mr. Duck.

    At least she’s not suing Goofy.

  3. David Wright says:

    Having worked for Disney in precisely the job discussed I can honestly say that Disney in no way condones groping the visitors at the park. The characters on a nearly daily basis find themselves grope checked (“Is Goofy a boy or Girls?”), or beaten down and abused by guests of all ages and sobriety who think its funny to abuse the costumed workers. Characters take a lot of abuse but if a character speaks while in costume or in any way reciprocates the treatment they recieve they are canned.

    Disney may be a huge mega monster corporation that puts profits above worker safety, but it doesn’t allow little people (Donald height is 4′ 2″ to 4’10”) to grope guests. No profit in it.

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