Third woman sues Koko the gorilla's caretakers over alleged breast-baring request
4:20 a.m. February 26, 2005
Iris Rivera, 39, sued the Gorilla Foundation this week in San Mateo County Superior Court, saying the foundation's president, Francine Patterson, repeatedly told her to expose her breasts.
Rivera, an administrative assistant at the foundation until she quit last month, claims Patterson told her last year that Koko was signing that "she wants to see your nipples."
Two other former employees of the foundation, Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, filed similar claims last week.
But while Alperin and Keller refused to expose themselves to Koko, Rivera acquiesced, the lawsuit states.
"She took it as a disagreeable duty of her employment," said Rivera's lawyer, Michael Adams.
An attorney for the foundation said the lawsuits had "no merit."
Rivera's lawsuit alleges sexual and disability discrimination, invasion of privacy and Labor Code violations and seeks unspecified damages.
The Gorilla Foundation was founded in 1976 to promote the preservation and study of gorillas. It's best known for Koko, a 300-pound simian who has mastered a vocabulary of more than 1,000 signs.