Stud manager tells court sex assaults led to suicide bid

A MANAGER at the Irish National Stud (INS) has told the High Court how repeated sexual assaults and bullying at work drove her to attempt suicide.

Launching a High Court bid to stop the company suspending her on medical grounds, Julie Lynch, the INS’s stallion nominations manager, also claimed she had an affair with the company’s former chief executive John Clarke.

Her affidavit before Ms Justice Mary Laffoy stated that when the affair broke down Mr Clarke “turned on her”.

“From September 2007 onwards Mr Clarke began a campaign of victimisation, bullying, harassment and humiliation that lasted up until the day he left the INS in January 2010.

“In addition from August 2008 to December 2008 Mr Clarke sexually assaulted me in the office on numerous occasions and engaged in sexual and other forms of harassment,” her affidavit said.

She said that on April 10 last year she was driven to attempt suicide by overdose.

Company secretary John McStay said the company had never been directly informed of the sexual assault claim until late last year.

Ms Lynch’s legal team are also seeking an injunction to allow her to remain living in her house, which is owned by the INS.

She also wanted her job title and company communication’s equipment preserved.

The parties are disputing whether Ms Lynch is suspended. The company said she is out of work on medical grounds pending a psychiatric assessment.

The fallout of Ms Lynch’s relationship with Mr Clarke was already the subject of an internal report conducted by Finbarr Flood. It found serious bullying had taken place but did not make any finding on the allegation of sexual assault.

Mr McStay’s affidavit denied the board had ignored Mr Flood’s recommendations and said disciplinary proceedings were started against the former chief executive but these were later deemed unnecessary because Mr Clarke decided to retire.

Ms Justice Laffoy has adjourned the application until Tuesday and said she would require written submissions from both sides.

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