Her supervisor, she testified, told her that "women get to the top of the D.C. government on their backs." He hinted, then requested, then demanded, that she sleep with him if she wanted to keep her job.
Faced with direct threats of firing, Patricia Kidd testified, she twice had sexual relations with Melvin E. Carter, a division chief at the D.C. Department of Administrative Services. When she refused more advances, she said, she was locked out of her office and transferred to dead-end temporary jobs. A succession of grievances to Carter's superiors accomplished nothing.
Yesterday, in a ruling claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1983, a D.C. Superior Court jury awarded Kidd $258,000 in compensatory damages against Carter and two top officials of the department, Deputy Director Robert L. King and Director Raymond A. Lambert.
The jury also granted punitive damages of $30,000 against Carter, $10,000 against King and $2,000 against Lambert, which the city said the three men will have to pay themselves.
Immediately after the verdict, Judge Nan R. Huhn granted Kidd a retroactive increase in civil service grade.
Huhn, recommending that the city find a commensurate job for Kidd outside the Administrative Services Department, told Assistant Corporation Counsel Eugene Adams that she would regard any retaliation against Kidd as contempt of court.
Claude E. Bailey, a spokesman for the D.C. corporation counsel, said he knew little about the verdict, which came late in the day. The three men named as defendants could not be reached for comment.
Vicki G. Golden, Kidd's attorney, said last night that the harassment began in obscene statements at work and in telephone calls that Carter placed to Kidd's home. In December 1987, she said, things got worse.
"He called her from the Comfort Inn during work at about 10 o'clock in the morning and said come here right now," Golden said. "She hung up the phone. He called her back and said, 'Remember, you're a probationary employee. I can fire you.' . . . She did have sex with him."
Golden said she produced records of the telephone calls from the Comfort Inn and other documentary evidence of the charges.
The case against King and Lambert was less direct. Neither man was alleged to have participated in the harassment, but the jury found that neither did enough to stop it. When Kidd filed a grievance with King, for example, King asked Carter, the subject of the grievance, to handle it.
Kidd also sued the D.C. government as the employer, saying the three men were acting within the scope of their employment. The jury found no liability by the city.
Adams, who represented the city and all three named defendants, denied that Carter sexually harassed or had any sexual relations with Kidd.
"Their theory was that she was an emotionally disturbed person," Golden said, "but the jury didn't buy it."
In documents filed before trial, Kidd said she had written grievances to Carter, King and Lambert. In July 1989, after two weeks of medical leave for depression, "she was locked out of her office and her computer had been removed," the document said.
"The grievances were not addressed," Golden said.
Jerry Kidd, 17, one of Kidd's two sons, said last night his mother "was glad that it was over with."
"I was glad it was over with too," he said, "because it was really taking a toll on her."