Saturday 10 December 2016

Stud manager claims ex-lover sexually assaulted her at work

TIM HEALY

Published 20/03/2010 | 05:00

A WOMAN claims she was sexually assaulted and bullied by the former head of the Irish National Stud (INS) after ending an affair with him, the High Court heard yesterday.

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Julie Lynch (31) has brought an action seeking to stop the INS from having her on leave for medical reasons.

She claims her treatment by former INS chief executive officer John Clarke, after she ended the affair, had a terrible effect on her and at one stage she attempted suicide by overdosing on pills.

Ms Lynch also claims she told various persons, including INS chairman Lady Chryss O'Reilly, about what was happening to her but the alleged bullying had continued and she also had to cope with her sanity being questioned.

She claims Mr Clarke sexually assaulted her in the office on numerous occasions after the affair ended.

Ms Lynch, INS stallions nominations manager, wants an injunction prohibiting the medical leave decision made last January and an order restraining the INS from compelling her to vacate a house in Tully, Kildare, which is provided as part of her job.

The INS denies her claims and contends she can return to work when medically certified to do so. It also denies her claims that Lady O'Reilly did nothing about her situation despite alleged discussions between them over bullying and victimisation by Mr Clarke.

The INS says the decision to place Ms Lynch on medical leave followed receipt of a report by a consultant psychiatrist, whom Ms Lynch had consented to be examined by, having previously rejected other doctors nominated by the INS.

The board says those findings could not be ignored. The INS also says that allegations of sexual assault were not previously put to them or Mr Clarke. The INS says Mr Clarke is not a party to the proceedings and is not in a position to respond to the allegations.

Ms Lynch's claims that she has been demoted and another person appointed to carry out her duties are also denied.

Counsel for Ms Lynch told the court yesterday she began an affair in 2006 with Mr Clarke, who retired from his position last January.

In April 2008, she decided to end the relationship following a change in Mr Clarke's personal circumstances. After this, Mr Clarke engaged in a campaign of intimidation, bullying and harassment against her which had a terrible effect on her, and at one stage, she attempted suicide by overdosing on pills.

Following complaints against Mr Clarke to management at the INS, an investigation was conducted by Finbarr Flood, former chairman of the Labour Court.

In a report in May last year, Mr Flood found Mr Clarke had bullied Ms Lynch, the court was told.

His report also noted Mr Clarke treated Ms Lynch "exceptionally well prior to the breakdown of the relationship" but that changed afterwards.

"Ms Lynch was treated to repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct and indirect, that would be regarded as undermining her," the report stated.

In an affidavit, Ms Lynch said that, after ending the affair, Mr Clarke made her life hell, and that between August and October 2008 he sexually assaulted her in the office on numerous occasions.

She said in May last year, she attended a meeting at Castlemartin with Lady O'Reilly, which was also attended by the INS secretary John McStay and INS board member Jim Beecher. Despite this meeting and the findings of the report, Ms Lynch said that the bullying by Mr Clarke continued.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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