Jury Awards Former Chreky Salon Employee $2.3 Million In Sexual Harassment Suit

11:11 PM, Mar 26, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- A prominent local hair stylist, who counted former First Lady Laura Bush among his high-profile clients, has lost a $2.3 million sexual harassment suit.

Days after the jury's verdict and just before a second woman's sexual harassment case was going to trial, Andre Chreky filed for bankruptcy.

"He put his hand inside my dress and grabbed my breast," said Ronnie Barrett, "And I said, 'Don't ever touch me like this again!'"

Ronnie Barrett was a colorist at the Andre Chreky Salon at 16th and K Streets, in downtown Washington, DC, until the lewd comments of her boss Andre Chreky escalated to sexual violence.

"He grabbed me by my shoulder and he was pulling me down and he was opening his pants," said Barrett, "pushing me to the chair and I fell in the chair."

Barrett says her boss, the owner of the Andre Chreky Salon, called her in to work one Monday, when very few employees were working, and asked her to come to his fifth floor office for an employment review and potentially, a raise.

"I said I'm here to talk about my raise," Barrett recalled, "to talk about my review. And he said, 'Why don't you give me a *** (oral sex)?' And I said, I'm serious Andre, I came here for what is due to me. And he said, no I want a ***(oral sex)."

Despite wanting to build a career and client base at the salon, and having a family to support, Barrett filed a sexual harassment suit and won. The jury awarded her $2.3 million dollars.

"It was as if pounds and pounds of weight had been lifted off of me. That's what really feels good," says Barrett.

But Chreky, whose liquid assets totaled more than 6 million dollars during the trial, immediately filed for bankruptcy. Fourteen witnesses testified on Barrett's behalf, including other women who allege Chreky groped and even, sexually assaulted them.

"The evidence at trial was that Andre Chreky would target young, vulnerable immigrant women and those were the women that he made unwelcome sexual advances to," says Barrett's attorney, Debra Katz. "And these were typically people who did not know their legal rights and were very vulnerable financially."

Despite Chreky's filing for bankruptcy, 9NEWS NOW learned he owns the K Street building that houses his salon, a home in Great Falls and another vacation home.

Chreky turned down our request for an interview. A spokeswoman said he couldn't talk because of another sexual harassment case pending against him.

Written by Andrea McCarren 
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com 

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