A top Verizon lingerie china executive repeatedly reached out and touched himself in front of a female employee while dressed in women’s lingerie, court papers charge.
Cheryll Harrell, 53, says that over a three-year period, Robert Esposito, 60, told her about his “lingerie fetish,” and then showed his lingerie – and more – to her.
Esposito denied the accusations in the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.
“I don’t know where she’s getting all this from. It sounds like she just has it in for me,” he told The Post last night.
At their Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, home, Esposito’s wife was visibly shaken by the fact that her husband was being sued for sexual harassment – even without knowing the details.
Walking out of earshot of his wife, Esposito said, “If someone has it in for you, you never know . . . ”
Verizon spokeswoman Heather Wilner declined to comment on the suit, but said the company had “taken action. Mr. Esposito is no longer with Verizon.”
Esposito said he retired from the company.
Harrell became central office supervisor in November 2003, which is when Esposito, the director of network operations, became her boss.
She said he soon subjected her to a “progressively pervasive, sexually hostile and offensive work environment,” including making “obscene and lewd comments” about her “breasts and buttocks.”
In June 2004, it went from bad to weird, the suit says. Esposito told Harrell he had a “lingerie fetish,” and “showed her a duffel bag full of women’s lingerie, which he said he enjoyed wearing.” He then told her he wanted to “get into your panties.”
Harrell said she repeatedly asked Esposito to stop, but was afraid to complain to higher-ups for fear she’d lose her job.
Harrell’s duties included once a month one-on-one meetings with Esposito, which he allegedly used for sex talk, asking if she would “watch him dress and undress in women’s lingerie.”
When she said no, Esposito allegedly decided to take matters into his own hands.
He called her into his office, and when she went in, he was “dressed in a black brassier, panties, stockings and heels. When she sought to leave, Esposito began making gyrating pelvic motions while proceeding to expose himself and to masturbate,” the suit says.
A threat to go to higher-ups temporarily stopped the insanity, but in the fall of 2005, Harrell was called into his office and again found him “dressed up in a bra and woman’s underpants,” the suit says.
When she said she was going to report him, he smiled, took out a sex toy from his duffel bag and mimicked oral sex, she alleges.
Harrell eventually sent an anonymous complaint about Esposito to a Verizon exec, and an investigation was launched after other women apparently complained, the suit says.
“We believe, at the very least, there were three or four other victims,” said Harrell’s lawyer, Christina Ullo. The suit says Esposito was allowed to resign.
The suit seeks monetary damages from Verizon for “fostering and condoning a sex-based hostile work environment” and causing Harrell “mental distress, anguish, pain and suffering.”
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