Woman says boss sexually assaulted her in Cork office

 

A woman who claimed she had to fight off her drunken boss's unwanted advances told a court yesterday she managed to escape when he tripped over his trousers and the office keys fell from the pockets.

"I grabbed the keys and headed for the door. I met the caretaker outside. I was completely hysterical and crying," said the woman, giving evidence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

A man in his late 50s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies sexually assaulting the 24-year-old woman in an office in Cork city on August 31st, 1994.

On the evening of August 31st, she said, her boss invited her for a drink in a nearby bar and she accepted. "He said I was doing really well in the job," she said.

She had only one drink but he had two or three and she noticed his eyes were glassy and his speech slurred. She decided to go home and went back to the office to collect her jacket. Her boss followed, saying he had work to do.

He offered her whisky, which she declined, but when she tried to leave she discovered the door was locked. "I took a phone call and as I put the phone down he grabbed me from behind and ripped open my shirt.

"His hands were everywhere. He kept coming at me and I stumbled backwards. I hit my head off the wall and fell over a chair. I was a small bit stunned," she said.

Her boss then lifted her skirt up, undid his trousers and tried unsuccessfully to tear off her underwear. He then climbed on top of her.

She managed to push him off. He tripped over his trousers and the office keys fell out. After she escaped, the caretaker drove her home and she later told her aunt and parents what had happened. In cross-examination by Mr Tim O'Leary, defending, she agreed she went to work the following day and continued to work for the company until spring 1996.

She denied being drunk. The caretaker told the court he met the woman on the stairs and she told him who she was and that she had been for a drink with her boss.

"She seemed very, very drunk to me," he said. He gave her a lift home and she was inclined to fall off the car seat. She did not complain about being attacked.

The trial continues before Judge Anthony Murphy and a jury today.