(MCT) — A serial rapist's sexual harassment lawsuit against a female prison worker can go to trial, a federal judge has ruled.
Brad Lieberman, dubbed the "Plumber Rapist" for a string of attacks he made on women on Chicago's North Side and four suburbs in 1979 while posing as a plumber, claims prison worker Victoria Doll groped him, solicited sex from him and then had him investigated when he refused to sleep with her.
She does not dispute the conduct but says in court papers it did not qualify as sexual harassment, an argument the judge didn't buy.
A Skokie native from a prosperous home, Lieberman over about six months attacked at least eight women after gaining their trust by flashing a badge and claiming to be a plumber checking for leaks. Sixteen women identified him as their attacker. He was convicted of seven rapes and one attempted rape.
The part-time security guard was arrested after a police officer from the Rogers Park district went under hypnosis so he could remember the first three digits on the license plates on a car he had stopped. Those numbers matched those reported by a woman's boyfriend who prevented an attempted rape.
Lieberman spent 20 years in prison after being convicted of rape charges in Lake and Cook counties. The state then successfully petitioned in 2000 to have him designated a sexually violent person, meaning he can be civilly detained in a treatment program, possibly for the rest of his life.
That same year, Lieberman sued Doll and prison officials on various grounds. Last week, after the case had dragged on for more than a decade, a federal judge dismissed all the claims except the sexual harassment counts against Doll and one against the estate of a prison doctor, now deceased, who allegedly stopped prescribing medication for Lieberman's thyroid disease.
Lieberman said Doll, who worked at the Sheridan prison as a security therapy aide, groped him, danced in front of him suggestively, told him he "turned her on," wrote him letters and left him a cassette tape with a recording of her singing and moaning Lieberman's name. She also said, "Tell me you're my boyfriend … and everything will be fine."
When he wouldn't sleep with her, Doll told him she would "bring (him) down" and then reported him for "inappropriate behavior." Lieberman was confined to his room for a week while authorities investigated the report.
Lieberman then gave prison officials a letter describing her behavior; when confronted, Doll resigned. He also filed a lawsuit, claiming her actions left him embarrassed and humiliated.
"Doll's statements, notes and gifts to Lieberman made it clear she was actively pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship with him," Judge John J. Tharp Jr. wrote in his ruling. "Such conduct by a person in a position of power or control — be it a guard, a boss, a teacher — over the target of the advances is a hallmark of harassing behavior."
Lieberman, who a state expert previously testified is a psychopath, got married while locked up, was divorced and then got engaged again, according to court records. He is currently housed at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility.