A woman who was the object of obscene phone calls placed by former American University president Richard E. Berendzen filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit yesterday in D.C. Superior Court against Berendzen and the university.
Susan Allen, of Fairfax County, alleges in the suit that Berendzen's calls to her house were made intentionally to inflict emotional distress on her and her family.
The lawsuit also alleges that officials at American University told Berendzen that she had reported him to police, an act that Allen claims led to "a final menacing call" to her.
Some of the lawsuit's allegations were first made public in April, days after Berendzen unexpectedly resigned as university president. He checked into a sexual disorders clinic at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
Fairfax County police, with cooperation from Allen, who is married to a police officer, charged Berendzen with two misdemeanor counts of making indecent calls. He pleaded guilty and was placed on probation.
Berendzen, who according to the lawsuit has moved to Arlington, could not be reached for comment. Gerard Treanor, who represented Berendzen in that case, did not return a phone call. Officials at American University also did not return a phone call.
According to the lawsuit, Berendzen first called Allen on March 23 after seeing an advertisement she had placed in The Washington Post offering child care at her Annandale home.
The suit says that Berendzen asked Allen if she would include his young son in the Allens' sexual relations and said that he kept a female child "sex slave" at his house and maintained a collection of child pornography.
The suit seeks a total of $15 million in punitive and compensatory damages from Berendzen and the university.