Student tells US court she fought with ‘every ounce of strength’

Irish woman (22) describes efforts to fight off American banker accused of raping her

Jason Lee, 38, a former Goldman Sachs banker, faces a 25-year sentence if convicted of the rape of an Irish J-1 student

Jason Lee, 38, a former Goldman Sachs banker, faces a 25-year sentence if convicted of the rape of an Irish J-1 student

 

An Irish woman has described in court how she summoned up “every ounce of strength” as she tried to resist an American banker accused of raping her in 2013.

The woman, who has not been named, was 20 years old and visiting the US on a temporary J-1 working visa during her college vacation.

Jason Lee (38), a former Goldman Sachs banker, faces a 25-year sentence if convicted.

The student had been working in another US state but was ending her summer in the US by visiting her brother in town of Montauk, in the Hamptons, an exclusive resort popular with wealthy New Yorkers.

She had been out drinking with friends before they left a nightclub to go to Mr Lee’s $33,000-a-month rented holiday home. It was there that the attack is alleged to have happened, in a bathroom as she dressed after a late night dip in his swimming pool.

She said Mr Lee “was standing there on the other side of the door with no clothes on.

“At first I thought he was joking.”

She pushed at the door to close it but he forced it open, she continued, throwing her on to her back.

“He was on top of me,” she said. “I didn’t really understand what was happening.”

She struggled but he pinned her hands to the floor, holding them by the wrists, she said.

When she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth so she tried to bite him.

“He told me to shut the f**k up,” she said, before describing how he pulled her underwear down and raped her.

“With every ounce of strength I had I pulled up my knee,” she said, forcing it into his groin, forcing him off her body.

She changed from a peach dress back into the shorts and t-shirt she had put on immediately after leaving the pool. “I took off the dress as quickly as I could,” she said. “ It was disgusting.”

Police officers arrived shortly afterwards. They had been called by Mr Lee’s friend, Rene Duncan, who believed his car had been stolen.

The alleged victim said she did not want to talk to the officers, she simply wanted to go home.

“I felt like it was my fault. I never should have got into the car,” she said.

Under cross-examination, the woman, now 22, was asked about an earlier incident in the US when she was arrested for underage drinking.

Andrew Lankler, for the defence, said: “Are you aware that the officer observed you unsteady on your feet with slurred speech?”

She denied she was unsteady and said she had been sitting down outside the motel where she was staying. “It was the start of the night,” she added.

She was also asked about the exact sequence of events that led to the alleged attack.

In her statement to police, said Mr Lankler, she said she had already changed back into her dress when she went into the bathroom, and had noticed Mr Lee as she entered.

“But here today you remember you put the dress back on in the bathroom,” he said

She said she was confused in the immediate aftermath and had 18 months since to “process” the events. She also said she still has not told her parents in Ireland about the alleged rape.

The court was also shown a series of photographs taken of the night, in which she posed with Mr Lee’s arm around her.

She had met Mr Lee and his friend at Georgica, a nightclub in East Hampton. When the club closed, the group of friends all headed to his home.

The prosecution alleges that he later tried to flee the scene by telephoning for a taxi while hiding in the vehicle.

Defence lawyers do not deny that Mr Lee and the woman had sex, but maintain the encounter was consensual.

Mr Lee is free on $100,000 bail and has been accompanied by his wife every day. He has waived his right to a jury trial and opted instead for the case to be heard by only a judge.

The trial continues.