Foundation Worker Claims Boss Used Hypnosis To Fondle Her Breasts
Who said not-for-profit?
Founded in 1832, the Pittsburgh-based Pressley Ridge Foundation has become the target of a lawsuit that threatens to sully the image of an organization that, according to its website, pledges to "improve the adjustment and achievement of children and youth with troubling behaviors through effective programs that focus on all aspects of their lives."
Earlier this month, a woman known as Susan P. sued the foundation and its former CEO, B. Scott Finnell for a host of charges, including fraud. But the eye-popper is the allegation of a sexual assault committed by Finnell.
Susan P., who was hired to work in the foundation's human resources department in 2008 before being promoted to become the department's head, says Finnell started by trying to hypnotize her through "relaxation techniques," according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Afterward, he allegedly massaged her breasts in an attempt "to bring her to orgasm," according to the Courthouse News Service. It's also alleged that he committed the advances on his self-described "magic couch."
The CEO also is alleged to have told Susan P. that the sessions were part of the job, as well as: "I'm touching you, but you're so relaxed, you're so deeply asleep, you don't even feel it."
When Susan P. reported remembering the incidents, she found a confidante to tell her story. She said that she learned that she wasn't the only one who reported receiving such treatment and, when Finnell became aware of her recollections, she was stripped of her duties by him and demoted.
Her complaint to the foundation's board brought no action, and she eventually was fired. She then turned to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June of last year, and filed a discrimination charge.
Over the course of the federal proceedings, Finnell was fired. Now Susan P. is suing for punitive damages.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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