INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (CN) – A dentist’s assistant claims in court that her boss repeatedly offered to “put her under” with nitrous oxide to “relieve stress” from her divorce, and did so: until his wife walked in one time and caught him masturbating.
Leah Kram sued Dr. W. Thomas Norman and Blue Springs Dental Arts, in Jackson County Court.
Kram began a stressful divorce in August 2008, and the office knew about it, she says. “At one point, without any solicitation from plaintiff, defendant Norman offered to put her under using nitrous oxide he has in the office for patient care,” according to the complaint.
It continued: “At this point, plaintiff expressed surprise and reluctance to this request, but defendant Norman informed plaintiff that doing so was safe, would help to relieve stress, and would help her relax.
“Because plaintiff trusted defendant Norman as she believed that he had always showed concern for her well-being and best interests, plaintiff finally accepted defendant Norman’s offer to put her under with nitrous oxide. At the time that she accepted his offer, she was not yet aware than defendant Norman had ulterior motives for requesting to put her under.”
Kram claims she “denied his requests on numerous occasions, [but] there were a few times during her employment tenure that she allowed defendant Norman to put her under using nitrous oxide.”
On the second time, she says, “she remember him making some inappropriate comments about her body and similar inappropriate comments about her appearance.” She says she “did not make a big deal about the comments” because she thought “Norman was just trying to help” and trying to “build her self-esteem during that difficult time.”
However, “On the fourth and last occasion that plaintiff accepted defendant Norman’s offer to place her under using nitrous oxide, defendant Norman’s wife, who worked in the office, walked into the patient room in which defendant Norman was administering the nitrous oxide,” the complaint states.
“Defendant Norman immediately discontinued the nitrous oxide, and plaintiff saw that defendant Norman had been masturbating under the shorts that he was wearing while in the room with her.
“This incident made plaintiff feel violated and extremely uncomfortable. Due to this occurrence, she began to seriously reflect on the past times that defendant Norman placed her under, and she recalled defendant Norman touching her in the vaginal area during a previous instance in which he places her under,” according to the complaint.
Kram says she never let him put her under again. And, “Because plaintiff was afraid that her would terminate her if she spoke up about the behaviors she remembered, she did her best not to allow him to know that she remembered these actions,” the complaint states.
“Because plaintiff would no longer accept his requests to put her under with nitrous oxide and because she objected to his sexual advances, defendant Norman cut her work hours and would no longer allow her to work on Fridays.”
She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for gender discrimination and illegal. She is represented by Chris Playter of the Lunceford law firm in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
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