Sarah Lelonek is a horror enthusiast. The Akron, Ohio, native's favorite holiday is Halloween. Her all-time favorite movie is "The Shining." And she's been to too many haunted houses to count.
While the 31-year-old loves the "horror scene," she admitted she reached her breaking point during a recent trip to a haunted house at Akron Fright Fest, located on the Kim Tam Park property in Uniontown, with her 25-year-old boyfriend Ryan Carr. The pair were traveling through what they described as an "all ages" haunted house — which allegedly didn't require a signed waiver — when Lelonek claims Carr was grabbed by a masked man, shoved onto a plywood bed and held there.
"A tall man who looked like Leatherface was pushing him down on the bed. I heard him clunk," Lelonek described to Fox News. "So I said, 'That's my boyfriend! Please stop."
Despite her clear instructions, Lelonek says the mystery man continued to pin Carr down.
"The actor replied, 'He's not your boyfriend anymore. I'm going to rape him," Lelonek recalled, adding the mystery man then began "thrusting."
Lelonek assumed the man was continuing the "mock rape" to get a rise out of her, though she said she was more "disgusted" than "scared."
"I realized he was putting on a show for me," she added. "All I could think about is all of my friends who had been sexually assaulted. It was a PTSD situation."
Eventually, Carr was released and the couple rushed out of the house together. Carr told Lelonek his shoulder was sore but he wasn't traumatized by the incident. Regardless, Lelonek said she felt it was necessary to warn others about the graphic event that took place inside the room.
"If you are a victim of sexual assault, do not go to the attached haunted houses," Lelonek shared, in part, on Facebook. "This is a non-waiver house. Nothing was signed. I repeat. Not one thing was signed. Kids go in this."
Akron Fright Fest states on its website that it features traditional "all age haunted houses," which range from "high startle" to "medium gore." Customers who choose "package two" or "package three," which includes traveling through a more extreme haunted house, are required to be 18 years or older and sign a waiver before entering. Those under the age of 18 can gain access with signed permission from a parent or guardian.
Lelonek claims she and Carr were only given a wristband for the all-ages houses and they were not warned there would be any physical touching inside the haunted houses.
"Up until then, we weren't touched. I had no complaints," Lelonek said. "I'm not scared. I'm not personally traumatized. I'm upset. There are people out there who have been hurt in a sexual manner and they were doing nothing about it."
Kim Tam Park, a professional water park where the event was being held, defended the attraction on Facebook Sunday afternoon.
The park explained there are six total haunted houses on the property — three are all-ages and three are adult only, requiring a signed waiver.
"We post a sign and make everybody read the sign and everything that will happen inside of the waiver haunt before they purchased a ticket the waiver haunt is for adrenaline junkies who live for horror movies[,] haunted houses and extreme sports [and] we combine all three!" the park wrote. "In the adult haunted houses we give everybody a SafeWord[,] the actors are all trained on how to properly operate this attraction[,] the only legitimate complaint we got was from somebody who did not believe the sign and everything we do inside of the haunted house; however, he could’ve used his safe word at any point to stop the haunted house and chose not to."
The park claimed all activities that take place inside their haunted houses are "professional," "safe" and "in a controlled environment."
Jeremy Caudill, who recently became managing partner of Melanie Lake Inc. at Kim Tam Park, told Fox News he was "shocked" and "appalled" when he learned about the allegations.
"We’re still investigating and trying to find out exactly what happened, and we’re hearing some confusing, inconsistent reports. When we know more, we’ll act based on what we learn. But I want to emphasize this point: There is no place for anything like this at our park," he said.
Caudill said all employees who worked in the area where the incident allegedly occurred have been suspended as the park investigates. The park will also place additional security and monitoring systems inside each haunted house.
"Obviously, rape is a horrible act. Even a mock rape scene has no place as part of any entertainment," Caudill said, adding a portion of proceeds from the following two weekends at the fest will be donated to the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties.
Lelonek, who worked at Kim Tam Park under the previous owner more than a decade ago, said she just wants to spread the word about the incident in order to properly warn potential sexual assault victims and young adults.
"In all 31 years, I've never been to a haunted house without a waiver where someone is thrusted," she added. "It makes me really sad. [This place] is part of my family. It's where I had my 10th birthday party. It's an awful situation."