A young woman named Denisse Villata filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Manhattan Federal Court, claiming that New York attorney Sunny Barkats forced her to have sex with him when she was 19 and interviewing for a receptionist position at his firm.
The now 21-year-old Villata said that Barkats told her that "she now belonged to him and that she would be required to have a threesome with him and his wife," according to the lawsuit.
The young woman tells the New York Daily News, "I was very confused as to why the interview was going in the direction it was going," she said. "I was very scared, I just felt very threatened." Despite this, she said she took the position because she was broke and needed the money.
The suit goes into gruesome details about the exploitative relationship. It states that the next day, when Villata arrived at work, Barkats allegedly made her have sex with him again and "began to forcefully choke and threaten her," the Daily News reports.
"If I catch you with someone else, I will kill you. You belong to me," Barkats allegedly told her. He also told her that in order to keep the job, she would need to get tested for STDs. She left to get the test, and decided never to return.
When she didn't return, Barkats sent her threatening texts, including one, which was allegedly a picture of him holding a steak knife.
Barkats has denied all allegations saying, "This is completely ludicrous. It's completely ridiculous, but you know, justice will be served and we'll go all the way with that."
Villata's lawyer, Alexander Coleman, defended his plaintiff's suit, "Quid pro quo sexual harassment is blatantly illegal," he told the Daily News. "No woman of any age entering the workforce, let alone a 19-year-old, should have to endure what our client did."
They are seeking unspecified damages.
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