Nancy Retzlaff, an executive at the embattled Turing Pharmaceuticals, alleged in a federal complaint that the company retaliated against her after she reported being sexually assaulted by Turing’s co-founder, the New York Times reports.
Retzlaff, who remains Turing’s chief commercial officer, says in the complaint that reporting the assault prevented her from getting the once-promised CEO post and restricted stock in Turing. The company came under fire after allegations that it had hiked up the price of Daraphim, a drug used to treat HIV patients, from $13.50 to $750.00. Turing’s founder and former CEO Martin Shkreli was later arrested and charged with fraud for alleged activities at other companies he worked for.
In the complaint, which was filed on Monday and obtained by the Times, Retzlaff alleged that Edwin Urrutia, the company’s co-founder and a close friend of Shkreli, sexually assaulted her in March of this year, in a hotel room during a trip to Washington, D.C., where Retzlaff testified before Congress about the company’s pricing for Daraphim. Both Urrutia and Turing denied to comment on the allegations to the Times.
She also claims in the complaint that Shkreli made sexist and vulgar comments around the office and is still involved in running the company despite publicly stepping down in 2015. Shkreli denied those claims in an interview with the Times.
According to the Times, Retzlaff reported him to the company. The company hired an external investigator, which Retzlaff says substantiated her claims and led to Urrutia’s resignation from the company.
Retzlaff declined to comment to the Times, but her lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor, provided an email to the Times explaining why she didn’t initially report the sexual assault to the company.
“Amongst the cast of characters running Turing, it is not hard to fathom that our client was genuinely fearful of reprisal, victim blaming, and being denied the C.E.O. position for which she was eminently qualified—all of which are now happening but for which we will utilize all of our resources to hold those responsible accountable,” Wigdor said in an email to the Times.