A woman claims that during a job interview for a receptionist position she was forced to strip and have s éx with one of the founding lawyers at a New York firm.
Denisse Villalta, 21, alleges that attorney Sunny Barkats forced her to have s éx with him during an interview when she was 19 years old, according to a lawsuit she filed Wednesday in Manhattan Federal Court.
Barkats reportedly told Villalta that ‘she now belonged to him and that she would be required to have a threesome with him and his wife,’ the lawsuit states.
‘I was very confused as to why the interview was going in the direction it was going,’ Villalta told the New York Daily News of the pairs alleged October 2014 meeting. ‘I was very scared, I just felt very threatened.’
The Brooklyn native said that she took the job because she was broke and needed the money.
‘I was really young,’ she told the Daily News. ‘I didn’t really understand much.’
The suit claims that the next day when she arrived to the offices of JS Barkats PLLC in Midtown, Barkats allegedly made her have s éx with him again and ‘began to forcefully choke and threaten’ her.
‘If I catch you with someone else, I will kill you. You belong to me,’ Barkats allegedly told her.
Villalta claims that he promised her gifts, promotions and a Manhattan apartment, but only if she continued to be ‘obedient.’
Barkats, who claims to be a ‘top corporate and securities attorney’, allegedly told her on the second day that she needed to get tested for s éxually transmitted diseases in order to keep her job.
She left the firm’s office to follow his instructions, but decided to not return.
When she didn’t return to the office in the afternoon, Barkats allegedly sent her threatening text messages including one where he held up a steak knife.
Barkats denied her allegations and told the Daily News: ‘This is completely ludicrous. It’s completely ridiculous, but you know, justice will be served and we’ll go all the way with that.
‘This is complete b *******.’
Barkats, who was sued by former client Lil’ Kim in 2013, claims that Villalta is his brother-in-law’s ex-girlfriend and that she is ‘looking to settle a score.’
The plaintiff’s lawyers, Alexander Coleman and Pooja Bhutani of Borrelli & Associates, PLLC said that she had never heard of Barkats prior to the interview for the receptionist position.
‘Quid pro quo s éxual harassment is blatantly illegal,’ Coleman 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.