Defending against sexual assault and harassment claims at the workplace

Posted By Galluzzo & Arnone || 21-Jun-2017

A significant percentage of police reports and lawsuits alleging sexual abuse involve people accusing co-workers of having committed the offense. However, unlike complaints involving sexual abuse allegedly committed by strangers or acqutainances, these sorts of matters tend to take a more circuitous route through the court system (if they even arrive there at all). Individuals accused of sexually assault or harassing co-workers face a host of complicated issues, and need experienced attorneys wholly devoted to defending their interests and future.

Thorough investigation of these cases is the key to success. Individuals that allege that they have been assaulted or harassed by co-workers frequently (perhaps, typically) report the incident to management before they contact the police or plaintiffs' attorneys. One of the keys to defeating these allegations is by highlighting the inconsistencies in the reports. Accordingly, determining what exactly the accuser said to management - as well as to other co-workers - about the alleged incident can be crucial to undercutting the allegations later brought in a police complaint or lawsuit. Significant inconsistencies can be devastating to the complaining witness' credibility and must be uncovered as soon as possible.

Plaintiffs also oftentimes threaten to file police reports unless their civil settlement demands are met by the accused individuals or their employers. A skillful and trusted advocate may be able to pre-emptively undermine the credibility of such a plaintiff by communicating with the prosecutor after the criminal complaint has been made but before an arrest has been authorized. Matthew Galluzzo is a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor and understands some of the concerns and reservations that prosecutors sometimes have about civil plaintiffs in this arena, and has the respect of many prosecutors specializing in this area of investigation.

Finally, in some circumstances in which both a civil and criminal case are pending, a skillful attorney can manuever to allow himself to either take a civil deposition of a complaining witness prior to his/her testimony at the criminal trial, or to use the lawsuit to undermine the credibility of the complaining witness (by painting the complainant/plaintiff as a lying money-seeker or manipulator of the justice system).

Individuals accused of sexually assault or harassing a co-worker should be wary of any attorneys hired by their employer or any interviews by in-house counsel. Of course, one wants to cooperate with their investigation so as to maintain a good relationship with the employer, but individuals should make no mistake that the employer will "throw them under the bus" if it absolves them of liability. Individuals in these circumstances never regret having independent counsel assisting them along the way, if for no other reason than to know that their attorneys owe them their full allegiance.

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP are uniquely qualified to represent individuals and employers in these sorts of matters. Their former prosecutors have defended many individuals in civil and criminal court against allegations of rape and sexual abuse, with a tremendous record of success at trial (see here (rape), here (sexual abuse), and here (sexual abuse). Matthew Galluzzo, a former sex crimes prosecutor, is uniquely qualified to interview witnesses and conduct internal investigations in these sorts of cases. Having represented individuals accused of sexual assault in both civil and criminal court proceedings, he can also eliminate the need for multiple attorneys to handle both aspects. His clients find it extremely advantageous to have one attorney handling both the civil and criminal aspects, as it affords him a global perspective on both cases with an eye towards resolving both matters favorably and at the same time.

If you or a loved one have been accused of sexually assault or harassing a co-worker, you should thus strongly consider contacting the experienced attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP.