LAREDO, Texas (CN) - An administrative assistant claims a Webb County commissioner forced her to give him oral sex "on an almost weekly basis" for years to keep her job, then stripped her of her duties when she filed a sexual harassment claim against him.
Sara [X] aka Sara Jo [X] sued Webb County and Francisco Sciaraffa in Federal Court. She says she felt she had to succumb to Sciaraffa's predations because it would take her 8 years to become fully vested in the county retirement plan.
Laredo is the seat of Webb County.
X says in her complaint she worked for Webb County for more than 9 years, and started as a constituent relations officer.
"On or about January of 2004, defendant Francisco J. Sciaraffa announced his candidacy for County Commissioner of Precinct 1 of Webb County. At or about the same time, Mr. Sciaraffa approached Sara Jo and asked for her assistance with his campaigning efforts," the complaint states.
X says she went door-to-door to promote Sciaraffa's candidacy, spoke for him at dances, scheduled his appointments and coordinated his public relations efforts, helping Sciaraffa get elected in April 2004.
"At his swearing-in ceremony, Commissioner Sciaraffa introduced his newly selected staff. Commissioner Sciaraffa introduced Sara Jo as his administrative assistant," according to the complaint.
X says that in July 2008 Sciaraffa filed a motion before the Webb County Commissioners Court that she be appointed director of La Presa Community Center, and she was unanimously approved.
X says she did a good job as the center's director, and the commissioners court gave her good yearly evaluations from 2009 to 2011, and kept her in the post.
For example, X says, during her May 18, 2009 evaluation before the commissioners court Sciaraffa publicly stated: "I have nothing but good things about Sara Jo and as long as I'm here at commissioner it's gonna, it's gonna remain director [sic] and I would hope that the court would support me. As far as her evaluation judge ... .A plus. She's a go-getter."
But X says Sciaraffa had a dark side that she dealt with for 3 years while working as his administrative assistant.
"To an outsider looking in, Sara Jo's work environment might have seemed ideal and welcoming," the complaint states. "Unfortunately this was not the case at all.
"Sara Jo began to be sexually harassed by Commissioner Sciaraffa on or about September 2005, during her first year as Commission Sciaraffa's administrative assistant.
"Commissioner Sciaraffa began to make inappropriate and unwelcome comments to Sara Jo regarding sex. He would make inappropriate and unwelcome comments to Sara Jo about her breasts.
"For example, he would ask, 'Are they real?' He would follow up said question by saying, 'Can I touch them? Let me see them ...' Being embarrassed and shocked, Sara Jo responded, 'Shut up! Are you crazy?'"
X says Sciaraffa said more than once that "he was a 'tit man' and that he 'loved tits.'"
She says she asked Sciaraffa to stop the lewd comments but he did not, and his harassing behavior escalated.
"On or about December 2005, Commissioner Sciaraffa touched Sara Jo in an unwelcome manner," the complaint states. "Sara Jo was sitting at her desk in her office working on some paperwork.