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Library of Congress to Settle Sexual Harassment Suit

The Library of Congress will pay $250,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by one of its employees against its former top law librarian.

Theresa Papademetriou, an LOC senior foreign law specialist, will receive the settlement. The offer was made Aug. 2, and the U.S. district court accepted the settlement Thursday. The agreement stipulates that it is not an admission of guilt.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2009, when Papademetriou alleged that LOC Law Librarian Rubens Medina sexually harassed his employees for years, including asking one female employee if she had “ever tasted human breast milk.” The lawsuit also alleged that Medina, who retired in 2008 after spending 14 years as law librarian and 37 years overall with the law library, said he hadn’t received sexual harassment training in “ten or fifteen years” and he created an environment with “sexually charged behavior imposed by fear and intimidation.”

According to the lawsuit, other library officials had been notified of Medina’s behavior but had done nothing about it.

“Ms. Papademetriou is delighted that the Library has settled the case with her,” said Bruce Fredrickson, Papademetriou’s lawyer. “It has been a long time coming, and we think that the outcome is fair and just.”

Fredrickson, who has worked with Papademetriou on the case since 2008, said despite the stipulation that the settlement isn’t an admission of guilt, the amount of the settlement says it all.

“That’s what they always say when they settle the case,” Fredrickson said. “The real telling fact is that they’re going to pay Ms. Papademetriou $250,000.”

The most a person can receive from settling a case out of court is $300,000, Fredrickson said.

“Enough said,” he added.

LOC spokesman Matt Raymond said in an e-mail that he would let the record speak for itself.

“The Library of Congress has long-standing policies and regulations against sexual harassment and discrimination, which we take very seriously,” Raymond said.

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