Civil trial begins in case of employee alleging boss made advances
Steamboat Springs — Attorneys made opening statements Monday in a civil trial in which a Steamboat Springs woman is suing her former boss, saying the man made unwanted advances toward her while they were at an out-of-state conference.
The man’s attorney said evidence will show the woman is trying to extort money from the man for a brief incident the woman initiated.
The woman alleges her boss made sexual advances and caused her emotional distress while the two were at the work-related conference in October 2001 in Kansas City, Mo.
Criminal charges have not been filed in connection with the alleged incident. The woman filed a lawsuit Feb. 1, 2002. In the lawsuit, she made seven allegations and asked for monetary relief from the man and his business.
Her allegations included assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A jury will hear and decide on the case, which is expected to run through Friday.
In opening statements, the woman’s lawyer, Michael Bottaro, alleged that the man was intoxicated one night at the conference. The lawyer said the woman came to the man’s room and entered it to look for receipts. The woman alleges the man approached the woman, pulled her close to him as she tried to leave the room and asked her to stay with him.
“This man took something from her and changed her life in a way that will never be the same,” Bottaro said.
Bottaro played a tape the woman recorded a few days after the alleged incident. On the tape, a man offers an apology. “No, you didn’t consent, and I’m sorry. I apologize,” the voice on the tape said.
The man’s defense attorney, Sarah Claassen, said the woman approached the man.
The incident was “a brief mutual mistake made by two adults, late at night away from home,” Claassen said, “but now one of them is trying to turn it into a financial benefit.”
Claassen played a tape that was made before the other tape that she said implied the man and woman regretted what happened.
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