Cindy Folefack
Editor-in-Chief

Former worker details history of aggression after ex-Chartwells employee charged with murder

After a former Chartwells employee was charged with two counts of murder in early June, a former student worker has come forward with allegations of physical and sexual harassment as well as drug abuse in the workplace.

Dallas police took Kendrell Lyles, a former dishwasher who worked in the Student Union, into custody on June 5 after receiving a tip, and later charged him with two counts of murder. Another former worker, who chose to remain anonymous, said Lyles showed signs of aggression prior to his arrest.

“It was known that he would verbally or physically harass people at work,” the source said. “It was common to see him physically grab or shove people. He would make sexual comments about the female employees there at work. That was very common from him.”

The former worker said that while Lyles’ harassment was reported to upper management, his behavior didn’t change. They added that Lyles would routinely show up to work while under the influence of drugs and sold drugs to other student workers. The source also provided a photo geotagged to UTD showing Lyles in his work uniform dividing up a white powdery substance with a card.

“He would come in absolutely reeking of marijuana,” the former student worker said. “Everyone knew about that because he would come in and you could smell it throughout the entire back area.”

Richard Franklin, Lyles’ attorney, declined to comment for this article. Chartwells corporate officials released a statement after Lyles’ arrest, declining to answer further questions due to the ongoing criminal investigation. 

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones impacted by these heinous acts,” the statement read. “At the time of his arrest, Mr. Lyles was not actively working for us, nor is he scheduled to return, and his employment has been indefinitely suspended pending the course of the criminal investigation.”

The statement goes on to say that Lyles underwent a comprehensive background check prior to employment. Chartwells officials declined to comment on the use of drug tests in the hiring process. The former student worker said that they were not required to take a drug test prior to employment.

Chartwells officials declined to comment as to whether or not the company would be making policy changes in response to Lyles’ arrest. The former student worker said that had more complaints been filed against Lyles, and had those claims been properly investigated, the murders may have been prevented. 

“There’s a decent possibility that if he was reported through the proper channels — probably the police — he might have been put in jail and maybe those killings wouldn’t have happened,” the former student worker said. “Honestly, I think that’s something that’s on everyone, not just Chartwells upper management. It’s on us.”

Graphic by Samantha Lopez | Outreach Editor