Victim Melanie Alvarado alleges numerous sexual assaults by Abraham.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: An Indian American CEO in New York City, Abraham Thomas, is at the center of a lawsuit filed by a former employee, who alleges that Thomas sexually assaulted her numerous times over the course of two years.
Melanie Alvarado, 22, was hired by Abraham’s Universal Business Solutions Inc. in 2011, as a relatively low-level salesperson. The company is a copying firm that has partnerships with larger corporations, such as Canon and Panasonic. Shortly after she was hired, Alvarado alleges that Thomas began making improper advances towards her.
Thomas and Alvarado – along with other employees, including one that Thomas was allegedly already involved with sexually – were at a karaoke bar mere weeks after she was hired, when Thomas “slapped [the] plaintiff’s buttocks,” according to the lawsuit. Alvarado allegedly told her boss that she would not put up with such behavior, but Thomas did nothing to rectify his conduct.
Over the ensuing two years, he propositioned Alvarado repeatedly, and was constantly rebuffed. These refusals were usually met with anger, as Thomas would purportedly tell Alvarado that she could very easily be replaced, and implied that her employment would be contingent upon her satisfying his sexual desires.
“Thomas would frequently tell Alvarado that he would take care of her student loans, that he would rent an apartment for her and other ‘incentives’ in order to induce her to have sex with him,” says the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan.
The situation came to a head last March, when Alvarado and another employee were being treated to massages at Spa88, paid for by Abraham’s firm. The suit alleges that Thomas and several other clients would frequently get “erotic” massages, thus leading to a pervasive atmosphere of sexual tension in the office.
During this particular massage, Thomas burst into the room, pinned Alvarado against the wall, and demanded she sleep with him, screaming ““I can replace you anytime. Who do you think you are?”
Alvarado yelled back that she could not be bought off, saying “Who do you think you are?!” before fleeing.
The following day, at a company outing in a local bar, Thomas showed up late and paid no attention to Alvarado. He asked his chauffeur to drive her to her home at the end of the night, an apparently common practice.
But after Alvarado got into the car, Thomas allegedly rushed in, and his chauffeur was ordered to drive to Thomas’s mansion in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Thomas tore her clothes off, and when they arrived at his residence, told Alvarado to marvel at his wealth. Alvarado, who was bleeding at that point, freed herself from the situation and contacted her sister, who drove her to the police station and filed the complaint.
Thomas is facing 10 years in prison for sexual assault, if he is found guilty on the criminal charges stemming from that incident. The lawsuit is meant to address the cycle of abuse Alvarado suffered during her time at UBS, and she is seeking unspecified damages. Alvarado alleges that she was paralyzed by fear for months after the attack, and could not leave her residence in Union City, New Jersey for weeks on end.
“This is one of the worst acts of sexual harassment that I’ve seen,” said Alvarado’s attorney, Derek T. Smith, in a statement to the New York Post.
Neither Thomas nor his lawyer, Dominick Bratti, have commented on either of the pending legal matters.