Sunday 4 December 2016

Student tells how she tried to fight alleged New York rapist

Orlaith Farrell

Published 15/04/2015 | 02:30

Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish J1 student
Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish J1 student

The young Irishwoman at the centre of a New York rape trial has described how "with every ounce of strength I had inside me", she pulled her knee up and struck her alleged assailant in the groin.

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A former Goldman Sachs executive, who has waived his right to a jury, is on trial for the rape and assault of the then 20-year-old on August 20 2013, charges he denies.

Jason Lee was arrested at the luxury home he rented with his wife in East Hampton, accused of sexually assaulting a student in the bathroom while her friend and brother partied nearby.

The J1 student told police that Lee forced his way into the bathroom, pinned her down with his hand over her mouth and raped her.

The woman, who travelled to the US on her own to testify because "no one at home knows what happened", cried as she was asked to identify Mr Lee in Suffolk County Criminal Court.

She had stopped in New York in August 2013 to see "this big city everyone was talking about" and to visit her brother in the Hamptons on her way back to Ireland.

After a night out, the woman returned with her brother, Mr Lee and some friends, to Mr Lee's $33,000-a-month rental property.

After swimming in the pool, the student walked to the bathroom to get changed. In there she became aware of Lee standing at the door naked, she told the court.

"He was on top of me," she said. She said he put his hand over her mouth, told her to "shut the f*** up" and then he raped her. With "every ounce of strength I had inside me" she pulled her knee up and kicked him, she told the court.

During cross examination, the woman was shown photos from the night by defence lawyer Andrew Lankler, including a selfie with Mr Lee.

In one picture, the former banker had his arm wrapped around the student.

The woman agreed that she didn't want to talk to a police officer who arrived at the scene, and he put it to her that had her brother not insisted she speak, "you never would have".

When questioned over inconsistencies in her testimony since her initial statement, she said she was "extremely stressed" at that time.

"I've had a year and a half to process what happened that night," she said.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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