herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Charity shop boss opened employee's bra

GUILTY: Manager harassed four women

A FORMER president of a Saint Vincent de Paul group has been found guilty of harassing four women in one of its charity shops.

Michael Dooley (73), of Lennon Melia Terrace, Dundalk, Co Louth, faced four allegations of harassing the women at the shop on Jocelyn Street.

A special sitting of Dundalk District Court heard that Dooley had put a tape around one woman to measure her bra size and he had given another woman a red thong.

Three of the women were working in the shop because of a placement there through Fas. The fourth, who visited workers in it, was described as having a learning disability.

Convicting Dooley, Judge Flann Brennan said he was satisfied the women "were in a vulnerable position" as they perceived themselves to be employees and perceived Michael Dooley "to be the employer".



breasts

"There is no doubt in my mind that is why they did not make complaints much earlier than they did," he added.

The court heard staff, volunteers and customers would often be greeted with a hug. The first woman said Dooley "kept hugging and kissing me and feeling my bum".

She worked there in 2009 and said he would also look down her top so she wore high neck tops to work. She said he would make comments such as, 'smile if you got it last night'.

The second woman worked in the shop from 2001 to 2005 and said he would talk about the size of her breasts.

As she was serving a customer one day she said he came in with a brown paper bag in which he said there was a present for her --it was a red thong. She also claimed he put his hand up her back and opened the clasp on her bra.

The witness agreed she was dismissed because she had stolen some perfume. She said she had owned up to it and claimed she was not the only person who took stuff.

He was her supervisor and she had asked him to stop, she said. It made her feel 'dirty', she added.

She agreed with Mr Oakes that the inappropriate comments being complained of were something that people engaged in and was commonplace in the shop.

The third woman said that when he heard she had become a grandmother Dooley had said 'can I have a bit of this woman?'.

She said she used to push him away but was afraid to report him as he was her boss.

The fourth woman, who was described as having learning disabilities, visited relations who worked in the shop.

She said he would measure her for her bra size and he would give her "skimpy tops to put on" and feel her bottom.

The court heard from the Fas supervisor Ellen Cassidy that she was never hugged by him.

She said that he told one woman she "had a fine arse," she (witness) told him if he said it to her she would have him up in front of the local court.

After an internal investigation the gardai were contacted. Detective Sgt Brian Mohan said that when he was arrested Dooley said he would only hug people. He said it was "banter."

Giving evidence Dooley said "I had no intention to harass or annoy anybody." He said hugging was common place but agreed "he wouldn't do it now."

Judge Brennan adjourned sentencing for two weeks and Dooley was remanded on bail.

hnews@herald.ie

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