PROVIDENCE (CN) – The host of a Citadel radio talk show brought one of his co-workers to a house where he has “sexual parties” and propositioned her, the woman claims in court.
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Diana DeQuattro says the Cumulus Media-owned 630 WPRO locked her out after her repeated complaints about the ongoing harassment.
The trouble arose when talk-show host John DePetro invited 24-year-old DeQuattro to lunch on May 21, 2012, according to the complaint in Providence Superior Court.
DeQuattro says she assumed that they would go to a local restaurant, but DePetro instead drove her to a house on a dead-end street and made sexual advances toward her, claiming he “could not help himself.”
“DePetro had previously boasted to the plaintiff that he rented a house with certain other individuals where they would bring women and get together for sexual parties, and at that time plaintiff realized that that was why he had brought her there,” according to the complaint.
DePetro apologized profusely, but the harassment continued after some time had passed, DeQuattro says.
In addition to showing DeQuattro pictures of women he found sexually attractive, DePetro also grabbed the buttocks of a female bodybuilder in the studio, making DeQuattro uncomfortable enough to leave the room, according to the complaint.
DeQuattro says she complained to her program director, and the station then moved her off DePetro’s show.
“On July 18, 2012, DePetro called plaintiff into his studio,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff went in the studio and was asked by DePetro if he and another woman could have sex with plaintiff and her boyfriend.”
DeQuattro says she declined and that DePetro then harassed her about work the next day.
When DeQuattro tried to complain, her supervisor at Citadel Broadcasting, Barbara Haynes, said the station could not investigate unless DeQuattro provided a written statement, according to the complaint. But DeQuattro says and Haynes had been giving her the runaround for weeks and had said the first summary she tried to submit needed more detail about a different incident.
Cumulus attorney Nicole Walker tried “to intimidate” DeQuattro after she filed a discrimination charge with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights on Aug. 3, the complaint states.
DeQuattro says she tried to go to work on Aug. 6, but the station had locked her out. The company also allegedly warned her against discussing the matter with the media.
DeQuattro seeks punitive damages for violations of the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and the Rhode Island Whistleblowers’ Protection Law.
She sued Cumulus, Citadel, Haynes, DePetro and Walker. She is represented by Nicholas Gelfuso of Central Falls.
Cumulus reportedly suspended DePetro this week for talking about the lawsuit in violation of a company-imposed gag order. DePetro told local politics blog RIFuture.org that he looked “forward to returning to the air on Monday.”
DePetro disputed the allegations in a statement through his attorney Tim Dodd.
“John DePetro is completely innocent and is not a party to any misconduct, nor to the allegations being made against him,” Dodd said. “John expects to be completely exonerated of the false allegations made against him. The complaints being made are completely unsubstantiated.”