Friday 19 December 2014

Top US banker charged with rape of Irish student

Senior Goldman Sachs employee denies charges of attack in $33,000-a-month summer house

Published 22/09/2013 | 05:00

Goldman Sachs managing director Jason Lee, above, with his wife Alicia

A SENIOR United States banker has been charged with the brutal rape of an Irish J1 student in the bathroom of a luxury home in New York.

Jason Lee, who is a managing director of the leading investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, appeared in a US court on Friday where he was charged by the state with first- degree rape.

If found guilty, Mr Lee faces up to 25 years in prison.

The accused man was initially arrested a month ago after the Irish student accused him of attacking her at a house he had been renting in the upmarket area of the Hamptons.

The alleged incident is said to have taken place in the bathroom of the $33,000-a-month summer house on Long Island.

The young woman is said to be deeply distressed following the alleged sexual assault.

Lawyers for the New York City investment banker yesterday insisted their client is innocent.

Edward Burke Jr told the Sunday Independent: "I have said from day one, my client adamantly denies these allegations and is adamant that he did not do this."

Mr Lee is said to have met the young Irish woman, who was working in America on a J1 visa, at a restaurant on August 19, where he was celebrating his 37th birthday.

It is alleged Mr Lee asked the alleged victim and her friends back to his luxury rental home.

The alleged victim told police that Mr Lee followed her when she went to a bathroom. He then allegedly pinned her down and raped her.

It is claimed the young Irish woman stopped the alleged rape by kneeing Mr Lee in the groin.

On Friday, wearing a sharp black suit, a crisp white shirt, a green striped tie, and a wedding ring, Lee appeared at the Suffolk County Criminal Court in East Hampton where he denied raping the young Irish woman.

Lee posted $100,000 (€73,927) bail and walked out of court holding hands with his wife, Alicia, who was in Manhattan at the time the alleged incident is said to have taken place.

It has also emerged that Lee's own friend, Rene Duncan, who was out celebrating with the investment banker, called the police, believing one of the alleged victim's friends had stolen a car from the rental home.

But when police arrived, a friend of the woman took a female officer aside and led her into the house where the sobbing student reported that she had been raped.

A source told a United States newspaper that Lee then went to the driveway of the house which he was renting, got into his Range Rover, which was dark with tinted windows, and hid.

But officers soon found him cowering inside, the source said.

Lee, who is managing director of the firm's equity capital markets group, is currently on a leave of absence from Goldman Sachs – pending the outcome of the criminal trial. He lives in Manhattan.

By Niamh Horan

Sunday Independent

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