November 19, 2020
Stephen Rex Brown
NY Daily News

The sex crimes unit of the Bronx District Attorney’s office was rife with sexual harassment, a prosecutor charges in a new lawsuit seeking $2.5 million.

Assistant District Attorney Heba Abdelaal says she was subjected to constant inappropriate jokes and comments about her figure — and then was labeled humorless and disgruntled after she tried to distance herself from colleagues. Coworkers allegedly told Abdelaal, who is Muslim, that her religion made her too sensitive to the office’s culture.

In a Manhattan Federal Court suit filed Wednesday, Abdelaal claims much of the harassment came from her supervisor, Anthony Perrotto. Soon after she began working for him in March 2019 he showed her photos of a defendant’s “micropenis,” commented on her breasts and gave her a hard time about “having sex with police officers,” the suit states.

Perrotto told Abdelaal he could make inappropriate jokes because he’s gay, according to the suit.

Abdelaal worked in the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Unit, which is part of the office’s Special Victims Unit under Bronx DA Darcel Clark. Her suit is the second filed by an employee of the Bronx District Attorney claiming an out-of-control office culture. A crime analyst claimed in 2018 that drinking, sex and the occasional brawl were regular occurrences.

Abdelaal says the off-color behavior continued at a 2019 Christmas party, where Perrotto allegedly simulated oral sex on a paralegal, and groped and unzipped the shirt of a female supervisor and asked her “if she likes penis,” according to the lawsuit. Perrotto often had “an indicia of intoxication,” according to the suit, using legal jargon for a person who appears to have been drinking.

In October 2019, Perrotto and Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Baher allegedly told Abdelaal not to sit on a couch because another prosecutor had sex with colleagues on it.

Abdelaal’s suit brings sexual harassment and religious discrimination claims against the city and Bronx DA. Clark’s office declined comment.

“We’ll respond to the complaint and let the court process play out to determine whether there is merit to these allegations,” a Law Department spokesman said.

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