WASHINGTON — A jury was chosen Friday in a federal court trial focusing on sexual harassment charges leveled by the former director of an American Broadcasting Company research project against her boss, the network's vice president of corporate affairs.
Opening statements are scheduled Monday in the case involving Cecily Coleman, who claims that ABC fired her in May, 1984, in retaliation for her complaints accusing James Abernathy of making sexual advances.
Testimony is expected to continue through mid-July before a three-man, three-woman jury and Judge Barrington Parker of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In her suit against Abernathy and ABC, Coleman complained of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.
The harassment caused her stress and physical ailments, said Coleman, a former aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and a former director of the League of Women Voters Presidential Debates Project.