STRONGSVILLE WORKER SEEKS $1.1 MILLION FOR HARASSMENT

The Plain Dealer
Cleveland, OH
Jul 9, 1998

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Authors: RONALD RUTTI PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
Pagination: 1B

Abstract:

Charles Santoro, who has worked for the city about a year, contends his supervisor, Charles McCleary, has subjected him to hostility and offensive behavior.

The only incident between Santoro and McCleary described in the suit occurred last November. The suit alleges McCleary rubbed Santoro's hands, shoulder and arms before squeezing Santoro's buttocks three times and saying, "There, that will get you charged up."

(Copyright (c) The Plain Dealer 1998)

Full Text:

A laborer in the city's Service Department is suing a supervisor and the city, alleging sexual harassment.

Charles Santoro, who has worked for the city about a year, contends his supervisor, Charles McCleary, has subjected him to hostility and offensive behavior.

Santoro, 44, filed suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

The only incident between Santoro and McCleary described in the suit occurred last November. The suit alleges McCleary rubbed Santoro's hands, shoulder and arms before squeezing Santoro's buttocks three times and saying, "There, that will get you charged up."

Richard T. Herman, one of Santoro's lawyers, said yesterday that the incident happened when Santoro reported for work after injuring a hand on the job.

"This was inappropriate," Herman said. "It made him feel humiliated."

Herman said Santoro lodged a complaint about McCleary's actions with the city. After the city issued a sexual harassment policy in December, the suit alleges, McCleary grabbed another employee by the buttocks, while throwing a copy of the policy on the ground. The suit alleges McCleary said, "This is what I think of the sexual harassment policy."

McCleary, 49, of Strongsville, could not be reached for comment. He has worked for Strongsville for 24 years.

Mayor Walter F. Ehrnfelt did not return a phone call.

Law Director John D. Ryan issued a statement. He said the city would aggressively defend itself and said it was inappropriate for anyone involved to make public comments about it.

Santoro, of Strongsville, is seeking a combined $1.1 million in damages from the city and McCleary.

Herman said Santoro hadn't wanted to go public with the accusations. "He just wants to go to work every day and work in peace. If they had disciplined the boss, we probably wouldn't have gone to this," he said.

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