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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

San Francisco CEO Accused of Importing Eastern Bloc Women as 'Sexual Playthings'

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The last time Greg Shenkman took a turn in the national spotlight it ended awkwardly -- during a 60 Minutes profile of the San Francisco CEO's workaholic lifestyle, a mishap during his demonstration of how he watches the business ticker, scans e-mails, and answers the phone while in the shower resulted in reporter Leslie Stahl getting doused

This time, if you can believe it, things might go even more awkwardly for Shenkman. In a suit filed Monday in San Francisco Superior Court his 30-year-old Ukrainian former assistant charged him with rampantly abusing the visa system in order to import women to be used as "sexual plaything(s)."

In her suit, Iryna Kharchenko claims her first interview for a position in Shenkman's multi-national software firm set the tone for the next five years -- she claims to have been placed among a roomful of "model-like" women and got her job after Shenkman allegedly "spent much of the interview staring at Ms. Kharchenko's breasts instead of looking her in the eye as they spoke to one another." 

Kharchenko claims she and another attractive young hire from the former Soviet Union were hired as "executive assistants"  in 2004 and housed in a Daly City apartment owned by Shenkman (who is also a Ukrainian immigrant).  

A bevy of alleged unwanted sexual behaviors are recounted in alarming detail within the suit (which you can read here), which further claims Shenkman's "inappropriate sexual and misogynistic behavior" was "practically a daily occurrence." Kharchenko goes on to accuse her former boss of stocking his office with a virtual harem of Eastern Bloc women whom he loudly commented upon in front of others, forced himself upon, and had massage him in plain view.

Kharchenko filed a complaint with the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing in September of last year. In December, she claims, she was fired.

She is suing for sexual harassment, sexual battery, battery, wrongful termination, and many other counts. 

Photo   |   Joel Telling

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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