Entries in Sexual Harassment (11)


Boston University Ice Hockey Team Slammed for 'Sexual Entitlement' Culture

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Boston University's men's ice hockey team has come under scathing criticism for an alleged culture of "sexual entitlement" and alcohol abuse.

A task force of professors and trustees, which issued its report Thursday, was set up after two BU hockey players were charged with sexual assault in separate incidents in December 2011 and February 2012.

Criminal charges against former player Max Nicastro, who was accused of rape, were later dropped, and Corey Trivino pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

But the task force found that the team's "elevated social status" on campus led to "frequent sexual encounters with women absent an emotional relationship or ongoing commitment."

The task force said the team culture arose because hockey players are isolated from the larger population of the university in housing and activities, and in some cases get involved in alcohol and substance abuse.

"It is clear that excessive alcohol consumption has played a role in the majority of the instances of alleged sexual assault or other inappropriate behavior that have been identified through the work of the Task Force," university president Robert Brown wrote in a letter on the university's website.

Members of the Terriers ice hockey team were instructed not to give public statements on the report, according to players reached by ABC News.

Mike Rosen, the father of junior forward Ben Rosen, said that he applauds the university for being proactive but thinks the assessment does not reflect the entire team.

"I'd like to say the school's doing the right thing in pursuing this, and we'll see how things flesh out, but personally knowing a lot of kids on the team, they're upstanding, high-level student athletes. It's unfortunate that some issues with a couple of kids made the whole team look bad. I can certainly say that about my son, but I applaud the school for taking the bull by the horns," Rosen said.

In response to the findings, BU announced that head hockey coach Jack Parker would be removed from his position as executive athletic director and focus only on his coaching duties. Brown said the change in Parker's status resulted from "possible breaches in NCAA rules" having to do with "the lack of clear reporting lines for the men's ice hockey program."

The report included more than a dozen other recommendations for helping to change the culture of the hockey team on campus, including opening a sexual assault center on campus and institution of a sexual assault prevention education program for the hockey team.

Parker released a statement calling the task force's findings "accurate" and said he thinks the report's recommendations "will help our team, other student-athletes, and the student body in general."

Boston University students told ABC affiliate WCVB-TV that the measures are long overdue.

"If you give a 20-year-old who plays a lot of sports and he's pumped up, and you say 'Go do whatever you want and no one's going to judge you because you're on the hockey team,' he's probably going to take that in the wrong direction," student Samantha Kassel told the station.

"There is a lot of sexual harassment in every field, and I think this is part of it. And I'm glad we're addressing it," said student David Imani.

Olympic champion and former BU player Mike Eruzione, who was consulted by the task force, told WCVB that he believes the report is applicable to all of college athletics, not just BU's hockey team.

"I think athletes, men and women, sometimes feel a sense of entitlement because of the stature that they carry at a university -- whether it's a hockey player at BU, football player at Texas or a woman basketball player at UConn. What I was happy about is that they found [there's] really nothing drastically wrong with the BU hockey program -- I think it's more the culture of college athletics," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Constable Allegedly Forced Deputy to 'Motorboat' Her Breasts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GALVESTON, Texas) -- The lawsuit reads like the script for a sexual harassment in the workplace video, but a former Texas deputy said the unwanted sexual advances from his female constable went too far.

Galveston County Constable Pam Matranga made lewd and suggestive advances to Deputy James Gist, including forcing his head into her breasts on two occasions, according to his complaint.

"[Matranga] lifted her blouse and pulled it down over Plaintiff's head.  [She] pressed her breasts against the head of Plaintiff," said the lawsuit, which was filed in District Court in Galveston County earlier this month and posted on Houston Press.

The suit details an alleged history of lewd behavior Gist said he suffered in the workplace.

Matranga declined to discuss the allegations levied against her in the lawsuit.

"Unfortunately Mr. Gist is allowed to say and do whatever he wants and I stand by a higher standard," she told ABC News, adding that she was not allowed to make any further comments.

Asked if she liked to joke around in the office, Matranga said, "Yes."

Fed up with his boss, who he claims once said she wanted to perform at "chunky chicks night" at a local strip club and then gyrated in his face, Gist decided to take action.  The deputy set up a recording device on his desk.

On Oct. 26, 2011, Gist said he was once again forced under Matranga's shirt and pushed into her breasts, an act called "motorboating" that joined the cultural lexicon following a famous tirade by Vince Vaughn's character in the movie Wedding Crashers.

Gist said he yelled at her to stop while the device may have picked up the incident on his desk, according to the court documents.

Matranga found out about the device and filed a complaint with the Galveston County District Attorney's Office.  Gist alleged the constable, who said she has a "clean" record in her 19 years of service, deleted evidence on the recorder.

Five days later, Gist was suspended and ultimately resigned as a deputy.

The Galveston County District Attorney's office is reviewing Matranga's complaint against Gist allegedly bugging the office to determine if it "warrants criminal charges," said Kevin Petroff, assistant district attorney.

Gist also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  He was unable to be reached for comment.

The two-term constable faces competition for her job in the May 29 Republican primary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: One in Four US Women Reports Workplace Harassment

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One in four American women has experienced workplace sexual harassment, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

One in 10 men say they’ve experienced it as well, and a quarter of men say they worry about being falsely accused of sexual harassment.

With harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain dominating the headlines, this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows the extent to which the subject resonates in the personal experiences and concerns of many Americans.

Overall, 64 percent see sexual harassment as a problem in this country, soaring to 88 percent of women who’ve been harassed.  Still, the overall number is far below its peak -- 85 percent -- in late 1992.  That was a year after the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who was accused of harassment by former co-worker Anita Hill, and during the sexual misconduct scandal that forced then Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., from office.

Experience of harassment is also down from its peak, from 32 percent of women in surveys in late 1992 and mid-1994 to 24 percent now.  Additionally, among women who’ve been sexually harassed, somewhat more now say they reported it to their employer -- 41 percent, compared with 33 percent in 1994.

Further, the number of men who worry about being falsely accused has eased a bit from 31 percent in 1994 to 25 percent now.  And fewer men think they’ve said or done things that might be construed as workplace sexual harassment -- 10 percent now vs. 25 percent in 1994.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Amanda Knox Slips Out of Seclusion for Brief Shopping Trip

Kevin Casey/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Amanda Knox, who has been in seclusion since her release from an Italian prison, is finally venturing out.

Her return to the public was no more than a trip to a store for toothpaste and a chocolate bar, but it was a deliciously simple act that she had been denied during her four years in an Italian prison.

Ironically, one of her last acts in prison was the inmate ritual of snapping her toothbrush and carrying it outside the walls of Capanne prison before throwing it away.

Knox's foray into the public comes as more details of her prison ordeal emerge, specifically how she was sexually harassed.

Knox's younger sister Deanna told ABC News that she saw the remnants of the harassment firsthand while visiting her sister in prison.

"There was something right in front of me and so I put my arm over it," Deanna Knox said.

Deanna Knox said she covered up scribbled words that read "Amanda is a whore."

On one occasion, a male guard reportedly entered Knox's cell alone, despite a policy against it, and made sexual remarks, ABC News has confirmed. On another occasion, a high-ranking prison official allegedly ordered Knox into his office at night and wanted to talk about sex.

"I think the Italian courts, the first time around, practically made sure that Amanda was going to be harassed in prison since they made her sex life so much of a focus of the first trial, " said Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach who has covered the case extensively.

Shortly after her arrest, prison officials tricked Knox, falsely telling her that her medical check-up revealed that she was HIV positive and asked her for a list of lovers for health reasons. The list that a distraught Knox provided to officials was soon leaked and became headlines in tabloid newspapers.

"Please, oh please," she wrote in her prison diary at the time. "Let it not be true. I don't want to die."

ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said that Knox could have the basis for a lawsuit but filing one would require a return to Italy.

Knox, 24, was released from prison earlier this month when she and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, successfully appealed their murder conviction. They had been accused of murdering Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher in a cottage the two women shared in Perugia, Italy.

Sollecito has not spoken publicly since his release but his father told the press that his son is getting used to being at home.

"It's as if he has been reborn and he is getting used to the simple things in life again, things that he has not been able to do for four years and this will take some time," said Francesco Sollecito.

Meanwhile, a juror who overturned Knox's conviction told Italy's state-run RAI television that he has no doubt that Knox and Sollecito are innocent.

"I saw the faces of these two kids, and they couldn't bluff. They didn't bluff. My point of view is that these kids weren't guilty. They weren't there," said Mauro Chialli.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Renews Call to End Violence Against Women

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As high school and college students begin a new school year, Vice President Joe Biden is making a personal appeal for their help in ending violence against young women, which continues to occur on campuses across the country at disconcerting rates.

“The reason I’m talking to you today is I need your help. We’ve got a big problem in the United States,” Biden says in a new video message posted online and tweeted out by the @VP account.  ”The problem is too many young women are getting victimized by sexual assault, and it’s happening way too frequently in high schools and on college campuses.”

Teenage girls and young women ages 16 to 24 face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault, according to the Obama administration. One in 10 teens have reported physical abuse by a boyfriend or girlfriend in 2010; one in five college-age women said they were victims of sexual assault.

“There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to the abuse of a woman,” Biden says. “If you know of it, or you see it, you have an absolute obligation to try and stop it. And the only way we’re going to stop it is if all of us speak up and make it clear that violence against women will not be tolerated in your school, on your campus, any time for any reason period.”

Biden also has a message for men and boys, looking directly into the camera to deliver what he calls “a very simple rule.”

“No means no,” he says. “No means no if she’s drunk or sober. No means no if she’s on the dorm room or the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no, no matter what. I’m asking all of you, all of you to help get this message out.”

The vice president’s office is pushing the education campaign “1 is 2 Many” through its website and on Twitter, using the hashtag #1is2many.

Biden, a longtime advocate for women, authored the Violence Against Women Act when he was in the Senate. It was signed into law 17 years ago Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Serial Butt-Slasher in Virginia

Getty(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- There appears to be a serial slasher on the loose in Fairfax, Va., who targets his female victims in one area of their bodies: their buttocks.

Fairfax County police believe that the apparent serial slasher has been using a box cutter or razor to slice women's rear ends in Fairfax County retail stores since February.

So far, six women have reported being victimized, police said, but authorities would not be surprised if more women realize that they have been victims of the same type of assault and come forward.

On Monday, Aug. 1, a sixth victim reported such an assault to Fairfax County Police. The 21-year-old woman was shopping at the T.J. Maxx at Fairfax Towne Center in Fairfax, Va., on June 8 when she felt a pinch on her buttocks. The woman did not realize that she had been the victim of a slashing until Monday, telling cops only after the attacks came to the public’s attention.

On July 25, another woman suffered the same type of assault at a Forever XXI store in Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Va.

According to Fairfax County Police, the 18-year-old victim was shopping when she noticed clothes that had fallen off of a rack behind her and saw a man bending down to pick them up. She immediately felt a "sharp pain" and believed one of the hangers had struck her.

A short time later, the victim discovered that her denim shorts had been slashed; her buttock had been cut and was bleeding.

In each case, the suspect distracted his victim before cutting her. The victims have all been teenaged women or in their early 20s. Police don't have reason to believe there won’t be another assault and are not sure his slashings may not be isolated to Fairfax.

Gregg McCrary, a former FBI profiler for 10 years who teaches forensic psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., said that the suspect may have a rare sexual disorder: piquerism.

"The offender probably derives sexual gratification from slashing or pricking or piercing women in sexually significant areas of their body," McCrary said.

He says these actions are consistent with this rare disorder because he only targets victims’ buttocks. Some piquerists “plateau off” while other transition to be more sexually violent offenders. He expresses concern due to the fact that the offender has gone beyond fantasy into physically harming women.


Attorney for Nafissatou Diallo Says Taped Conversation Was Misinterpreted

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The attorney for Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, said a taped conversation between his client and a friend had been misinterpreted.

“The quote attributed to Nafi, "He has a lot of money.  And I know what to do" is NOT on the tape according to a Fulani interpreter retained by the District Attorney's Office,” Ken Thompson said.

That conversation is, in part, what led Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to have “concerns” about Diallo’s credibility.  Prosecutors from his office spent almost eight hours with Diallo Wednesday as they consider whether to go forward with the case.  

Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Vance, declined to comment on the substance of the conversation, saying “This is a pending criminal case.  We will have no comment on evidence, or on any meetings between prosecutors and witnesses, civil attorneys, or defense counsel.”

Strauss-Kahn has denied all criminal wrongdoing and his attorneys have said all charges must be dismissed.

Diallo broke her public silence this week in an exclusive broadcast interview with ABC News during which she said she “wants justice” and wants Strauss-Kahn to go to jail.  Today she will appear in Brooklyn to thank her supporters.

The phone call that raised questions inside the district attorney’s office was between Diallo and an inmate at an Arizona immigration jail, someone Diallo describes as a “friend.”   

When prosecutors first heard the recordings they believed Diallo alluded to Strauss-Kahn’s money.  Thompson said after listening to the recordings on Wednesday he heard something different.

“Nafi Diallo was sexually assaulted and almost raped by one of the most powerful men on earth and that she told her friend, the person in jail, what he did to her the very first time they spoke. That is critical, because many of you are under the impression that the first time they spoke they were talking about how to get his money,” Thompson said.

The phone call is not the only reason prosecutors have said they have to reassess the strength of their case.  Diallo lied on her application for asylum and investigators believe she told them two different stories about what happened in the aftermath of her encounter with Strauss-Kahn.

In her interview with ABC News Diallo conceded she made “mistakes” but said they should not preclude the district attorney’s office from bringing Strauss-Kahn to trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Poses as Autistic, Cons Women into Changing His Diaper

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- An Oklahoma man was sentenced to three years in prison after he posed as an autistic, diaper wearing teen and conned babysitters into caring for him and repeatedly changing his diaper.

Mark Anthony Richardson II, 21, pleaded guilty to felony sexual battery and seven counts of outraging public decency. He grabbed the breast of one of his babysitters. The seven counts of outraging public decency refer to the seven times one babysitter changed his diaper.

He is accused of conning at least two babysitters into caring for him while he used a pacifier, wore a diaper and drank baby formula.

In October of last year, a woman alerted Oklahoma City police after Richardson spent several days at her home and stayed overnight at least five times. The unidentified woman's daughter had posted on Craigslist advertising her babysitting services, according to a police report.

Richardson responded to the advertisement posing as the father of an autistic, 19-year-old son, according to a police report. He then showed up at the woman's home posing as a helpless teen who needed to be fed and changed.

Richardson, who was previously convicted of arson, demanded that the women change his diaper. He later grabbed the 18-year-old babysitter's breast while she was sleeping.

During his sentencing, Richardson apologized. After serving his sentence, he must also serve five years of probation and register as a sex offender.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Yale Under Fire for 'Hostile Sexual Environment'

Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Yale University is under federal investigation after a complaint filed by several of its Ivy League students alleges that the school fails to curb what they call a "hostile sexual environment."

Hannah Zeavin, one of the 16 students who are complainants in the case, told ABC News she has felt uncomfortable during her three years at the New Haven, Conn., university.

"Yale is obviously a prestigious and excellent academic institution that I feel honored to be part of every single day," said Zeavin, who will graduate in 2012 with a degree in American Studies. "I am constantly astounded both positively and negatively by my peers."

"But I feel like because I have had to deal with certain sexual misconduct from my peers that I don't have equal access," she said. "I can't sleep well anymore and when I walk around Yale campus at night I'm scared."

Zeavin said she joined with classmates and alumni and filed a Title IX suit against Yale on March 15, alerting the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights of the university's "inadequate response to a long trend of public sexual harassment" on campus.

In a written statement provided to ABC News by the U.S. Department of Education, the agency confirmed that they would launch an investigation into the allegations against the university.

The statement said that the 26-page complaint formulated by the students alleges that a "sexually hostile environment exists on campus at Yale University."

In an email message to ABC News, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said that the school has not yet received the complaint, but has been contacted by the Office of Civil Rights.

"We will respond fully to the investigation, and cooperate with the Office of Civil Rights," said Conroy. "Yale takes extremely seriously all allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, including allegations of a 'hostile environment.'"

If Yale University is to be found in violation of Title IX, it could be denied federal funding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Soldier Treated for PTSD Allegedly Stalked by 'Psychotic' Therapist

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FORT RILEY, Kan.) -- A therapist treating an army sergeant for post-traumatic stress disorder allegedly stalked and sexually harassed the soldier -- apparently sending him lewd text messages and threatening his family -- in a case that culminated with a high-speed chase and the therapist in a psychiatric hospital, according to a military investigation.

Prosecutors Tuesday charged Rachelle Santiago, 43, an independent social worker hired to counsel soldiers at Fort Riley in Kansas, with stalking the sergeant who she was counseling for PTSD and marital problems.

Santiago suggested the sergeant meet her in a bar, allegedly rubbed and "humped" against him in her office, sent suggestive and threatening text messages and appeared unannounced at his home, according to an affidavit filed by a military police investigator.

Fearing his wife or children would be hurt, the soldier took the advice of another non-commissioned officer and reported the alleged harassment.

Santiago was barred Jan. 25 from entering the Fort Riley military installation in northeast Kansas, according to investigators. She tried to get on the post that same day and was issued a citation for alleged criminal trespass.

The next day, she allegedly sped through another entrance. Military police began a high-speed pursuit, which reached 100 mph, for nearly an hour, investigators say.

When she eventually stopped, police took her to the Geary Community Hospital, where she underwent a psychiatric examination and was placed under police guard, according to investigators.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio