Robert A Bruno, a Long Island judge, is being sued for sexually harassing a former clerk from 2011 to 2016. Like so many women being harassed by their superior, Tricia Moriates felt that she couldn’t leave her job because she was the primary breadwinner of her household.
Here is what we now about the allegations:
- Moriates claims that Judge Bruno once grabbed her right breast and kissed her.
- Bruno allegedly called other female employees derogatory names such as “bitch”.
- Bruno frequently displayed inappropriate conduct towards Moriates as well as other female employees.
- Bruno gave gifts to Moriates and complimented her on her large breasts.
- Moriates claims that Bruno’s wife stalked her because she was jealous of the attention Bruno lavished on Moriates.
- Moriates alleges that Bruno would brush up against her so that his penis was near her face.
- Moriates claims that Bruno would lock his office while Moriates was there (even though this was against the rules of the court.) He would then investigate the room for any “bugging devices” for fear of being recorded.
- Eventually Bruno became short with Moriates during work hours.
- While on maternity leave, Bruno fired Moriates via text message without giving her a reason.
After four years of sexual harassment, Moriates asked her supervisors if she could begin working from home. For fear of losing her job, she didn’t mention the harassment and so her request was denied. It was then that Moriates began to experience apprehension whenever she had to go to work. While at work, she began locking herself in her office in order to feel safe.
According to the suit, Moriates has not only suffered a loss of income and access to her pension, she has also incurred significant legal costs, emotional distress, and humiliation. In addition, she continues to experience damage to her personal and professional reputation. A spokesperson for the judge stands by the fact that, at this point, these are just allegations.
Does this prove that sexual harassment has no boundaries in our society? If a judge can do it, anyone can.
*image by Claire Anderson
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