Ex-BBC employee carried out 'repeated, unwanted sexual harassment' of woman in 1980s

A former BBC employee carried out a "persistent, repeated and unwanted sexual harassment" of a woman while he worked for the company more than 30 years ago, a British court has been told.

Ex-BBC employee carried out 'repeated, unwanted sexual harassment' of woman in 1980s

A former BBC employee carried out a "persistent, repeated and unwanted sexual harassment" of a woman while he worked for the company more than 30 years ago, a British court has been told.

Geoffrey Wheeler, 70, is alleged to have indecently assaulted the woman at the BBC's studio in Milton Keynes in the early 1980s while he worked at the Open University for the corporation.

Wheeler, of Hopkins Close, Milton Keynes, allegedly put his hand up the woman's top to try and touch her breast, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

He is also charged with having, on at least 10 occasions, rubbed her shoulders and tried to touch her breasts. He is also said to have repeatedly grabbed her and tried to kiss her.

He also allegedly tried to push his groin into her bottom, and is charged with touching her while they were in a car together on at least three occasions, when he also allegedly tried to touch her pubic area.

Wheeler - not to be confused with the BBC broadcaster and former Songs Of Praise presenter of the same name who died in December 2013 - was charged under Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into historical sexual abuse in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Wheeler denies five counts of indecent assault dating from May 1 1981 to September 1 1982.

Prosecutor Sally-Anne Hales QC told the jury that the 1980s were "a different time when perhaps sexual flirtation and sexual harassment" may have been more commonplace and women may have felt unable to complain.

She said this case is about "persistent, repeated, unwanted sexual harassment" and "frequent indecent assault which made the complainant's life miserable".

Miss Hales told the jury: "Whilst none of the touching taken in isolation is of the most serious nature the fact that it was persist and most importantly unwanted means it is worthy of your consideration."

Miss Hales said: "Even in the 1980s, it was unacceptable for a man to sexually touch a woman who is not consenting to it."

She said the alleged victim, who cannot be named, tried to get Wheeler to stop but his behaviour did not change.

The alleged incidents were not encouraged and only happened when they were alone, the court heard.

The alleged victim later told the court she had felt "devastated", "worthless" and "intimidated" at various times about what had happened.

It was all "very anxiety-producing, frustrating and stressful", she recalled.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox