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Northwest Settles Sex Harassment Suit, Offers Reward in Slaying

October 28, 1995

BOSTON (AP) _ The family of a baggage handler who had been sexually harassed at work in the months before she was murdered will use some of a $75,000 settlement with Northwest Airlines Corp. to pursue her killer.

The family also plans to set up a memorial scholarship fund in honor of Susan Taraskiewicz, 27, whose body was found beaten and stabbed in the trunk of her car Sept. 14, 1992. The killing remains unsolved.

Northwest said it would announce next week the details of a $250,000 reward it was establishing.

The young woman’s parents filed the harassment case with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination after the mother, Marlene Taraskiewicz, found a secret diary in which her daughter had described harassment and threats by male co-workers.

The harassment included offensive names, some of them written as graffiti on the inside of Northwest airplanes, and some on the company’s plane-loading equipment. She also saw a drawing of a coffin with her name on it at the airport several weeks before she died, according to the diary.

Northwest has said it responded promptly to Taraskiewicz’s claims, firing two workers who had hounded her.

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based airline did not admit any guilt or wrongdoing in the case, according to the terms of the settlement announced Friday with the state commission.

Northwest spokesman Jon Austin confirmed the $75,000 settlement.

Mrs. Taraskiewicz said she and her husband, Ronald, agreed to the settlement so they could focus on finding the killer.

``This is a bittersweet day in that we don’t have Susan’s murderer,″ Mrs. Taraskiewicz said. ``I believe that amount of money will bring somebody forward.″

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