WATERBURY, Conn. (CNS) – A woman claims she suffered two years of sexual abuse from her boss at Post University, who preyed upon her by threatening her job.
KR sued Post University and her former boss Michael Patterson in Waterbury Superior Court.
KR claims “she was forced to perform sexual acts as a condition of keeping her job, and was told she would be fired if she did not acquiesce.”
“Plaintiff was terrified that she would lose her job, and this was particularly frightening because of major financial obligations, including supporting her grandmother,” according to the complaint.
She claims Patterson began harassing her as soon as he had her transferred to work under him, in October 2007.
For instance: “In December, 2007, Patterson called plaintiff’s home late at night after a drinking at a party and began saying sexually explicit things to her and demanding phone sex while he masturbated. This began a pattern of phone calls and emails at all hours of the night and early morning, all demanding phone sex,” according to the complaint.
“Beginning in January, 2008 and continuing until October, 2010 the defendant Patterson’s demands escalated into requiring the plaintiff to perform sexual acts on dozens of occasions,” the complaint states.
“When plaintiff resisted defendant Patterson’s sexual advances or desires, plaintiff would be punished either through verbal abuse, physical abuse, or an ongoing pattern of public embarrassment at her job in front of her coworkers and students.
“Defendant Patterson sought to control every aspect of plaintiff’s life through actions including but not limited to:
“a. Telling her what to wear;
“b. Demanding sex in public places;
“c. Posting inappropriate photographs of her online;
“d. Requiring plaintiff to take part in sexual activity with others while the defendant Patterson watched;
“e. Demanding money in the form of loans that were never repaid …” and
“l. Preventing the plaintiff from taking accrued vacation time, causing her to lose approximately 14 weeks of vacation time.”
KR also claims that Patterson “forcibly sodomized her.”
She claims the sexual and verbal abuse continued until October 2010, when a university employee, apparently a professor, “told her he knew Mike was abusing her and promised to protect her if she came forward.”
KR says she did report Patterson, to the university’s Human Resources department, which told her “that the university would pay for trauma counseling for her and would assist with an attorney so she could get a restraining order.”
However, KR says, “On November 10 of 2010, Mr. Patterson was allowed to resign without any repercussions, and, upon information and belief, was paid a large severance package.”
She claims that she told Human Resources that she was afraid “that Patterson would come after her,” and was told “that she was not the only reason that Patterson was gone.”
“Post previously investigated claims of sexual harassment and/or misconduct with no repercussions to Mr. Patterson,” the complaint states.
“Post was aware of what Patterson was doing and did nothing about it.”
KR says Post paid for three sessions of counseling, “and none after that.” She says she paid for continuing counseling and was “forced to take a leave of absence.”
While on leave, she says, her job was given to someone else, who called her and told her “that Patterson does this because ‘he cannot help himself.'”
KR says she has returned to work but “has been reassigned to a lower position doing menial work.”
She seeks punitive damages for battery, negligence, discrimination, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and outrage.
She is represented by Richard LaBrecque with Grady and Riley, of Waterbury.
Post University, “a proprietary institution,” (a school run for profit) has enrollment of 3,320 on four campuses, according to U.S. News & World Report.