PITTSBURGH (CN) – During “relaxation sessions” on his “magic couch,” the CEO of the Pressley Ridge Foundation hypnotized a female employee, stroked her breasts and “repeatedly brought her to orgasm,” the employee claims in Federal Court.
Human resources coordinator Susan Patroski says Pressley Ridge demoted and fired her in retaliation for her complaints that CEO B. Scott Finnell had hypnotized and molested her.
Finnell allegedly told Patroski that she needed to participate in the “relaxation techniques” because he was making a relaxation CD for the foundation’s Pressley Ridge Wellness Program.
For about a year, Patroski was hypnotized in Finnell’s office “on a frequent basis,” according to the lawsuit.
“During the hypnosis sessions, while Patroski was hypnotized, Finnell stroked Patroski’s breasts, and repeatedly brought her to orgasm, utilizing the hypnotic suggestion that he would slowly count to five, and when he reached five, she would experience a rush of pleasure,” the lawsuit states.
Patroski says she could not remember what had happened after each session, but she often noticed that her cardigan was buttoned differently and her “underpants were very damp.”
About a year later, she says she began to recall bits and pieces of the sessions, including “being on the floor in front of Finnell, and having her head between his legs,” Finnell saying, “I’m touching you, but you’re so relaxed, you’re so deeply asleep, you don’t even feel it,” and “a clicking sound, which may have been a camera,” leading Patroski to fear that she might have been photographed in a state of undress.
She says she emailed Finnell with her concerns and confided in another female co-worker who had also been hypnotized by Finnell.
Patroski claims several other female employees had been hypnotized by Finnell.
She says Finnell “moved to push her out of the organization” when he learned that she was remembering the details of the sessions.
Pressley Ridge asked her to resign, and when she refused, she was demoted to a benefits coordinator, the lawsuit claims.
She was later fired for reporting the sexual harassment, according to the complaint.
Finnell is allegedly under investigation for hypnotizing and sexually molesting female employees.
Patroski demands more than $5 million from Finnell and Pressley Ridge for sexual harassment, civil rights violations, intentional infliction of emotion distress and negligent hiring, among other claims.
Her attorney is Violet Grayson in New York.