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Jury awards $500,000 in Raytheon harassment case

LAWRENCE -- A jury has awarded $500,000 to a woman who said Raytheon Co. failed to investigate her sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor because he was the nephew of the company's former chief executive.

A jury in Lowell found that the Waltham-based defense contractor and the supervisor, Spero Harakas, were both liable for the harassment Judith Williamson suffered while working as a secretary at a Raytheon office in Tewksbury.

Raytheon has filed motions seeking a new trial or a dismissal or reduction of last month's jury award, company spokesman James Fetig said yesterday.

''The facts didn't support the damage award in the case," Fetig said.

Williamson said she was harassed starting in 1999 by Harakas, then the manager of an engineering and logistics group and Williamson's supervisor.

The two had previously had a romantic relationship, said her attorney, Kenneth Homsey. When Williamson told Harakas she couldn't be involved with him, Harakas became increasingly belligerent and critical of her job performance, Homsey said.

Williamson alleged Raytheon failed to investigate her claims against Harakas because he was the nephew of Thomas L. Phillips, who served as Raytheon's chairman and chief executive from 1975 to 1991 and retired from the board of directors in 2000.

Michael Bernardo, an attorney for Harakas and Raytheon, declined to comment.

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