CSA man in sex claim 'made other advances': Woman 'cornered' at office party

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The Independent Online
A CHILD Support Agency manager who claims he was sexually harassed by a woman on his staff, twice made sexual advances towards another female official, a tribunal was told yesterday.

Stephen Davies, 39, allegedly cornered the woman at Christmas parties, prompting other CSA staff to act as her minders.

The woman, known as Mrs C, was speaking on the fourth day of an industrial tribunal in Birmingham hearing Mr Davies's claims that another woman, Mrs A, waged an eight-month campaign to get him into bed.

When he refused, she reported him for sexual harassment. He was cleared of the charge but was sacked in March for allegedly bullying two CSA staff. Amid claims and counter-claims of affairs, sexual misbehaviour and drunkenness in the CSA, Mr Davies is claiming the agency's failure to stop the woman harassing him amounts to sexual discrimination.

The hearing has already heard the woman and her husband claim that Mr Davies tried to sleep with Mrs C and another of his staff and once made a bet that he would get Mrs C into bed. Mr Davies has admitted that he had affairs and that he once dropped his trousers at a CSA party when challenged about the size of his penis, but he has denied trying to sleep with any of his staff.

Mrs C, who said staff were frightened of Mr Davies's mood swings, described his unwelcome sexual advances at two CSA functions in December 1992. The first was at a disco in Dudley.

'It was the first social occasion for all of the people working together as a team,' she said. 'I went to the ladies' and when I came out Steve was waiting outside. He basically made an approach which I rejected. It was along the lines of 'I want a Christmas kiss'.' She said Mr Davies was drunk and 'quite incoherent'.

She said the second attempt was made as she was leaving a Christmas Eve party in the CSA office: 'Steve followed me and again approached me and said I could not leave without a Christmas kiss.'

She refused and said she was rescued by Mr and Mrs A intervening. The hearing was told that Mr A had pretended to have an affair with Mrs C to keep Mr Davies at bay.

Mrs C also said staff were afraid of Mr Davies's apparent split personality and aggressive behaviour.

'One day he would be perfectly OK and friendly, and the next he would snap your head off,' she said. 'It was almost like a change of character. It was obvious that he did make certain people feel intimidated, although personally I always felt I could handle the situation.'

Mr Davies's wife, Diane, also a CSA worker, was in tears as she told the tribunal that Mr Davies gave '500 per cent' to the agency.

She also confirmed that Mr Davies had come home one evening and told her of Mrs A's unwanted advances. Mrs A is alleged to have pestered Mr Davies, calling him at home, inviting him to her hotel rooms and buying him skimpy briefs which she asked him to model.

Mrs Davies said she had not been concerned at first because the Davieses and Mr and Mrs A were friends. However, when told of a statement made by Mrs A that she had no interest in Mr Davies, she replied: 'For her to say she would not have done it because I was her friend is laughable, because I knew for a fact that Mrs A had an affair with her best friend's husband.'

The hearing continues.

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