A SENIOR manager at Mid Devon District Council allegedly touched a female employee after inviting her into his office.
Mark Baglow is alleged to have carried out a series of sexual assaults between 2017 and 2019. He has since resigned.
A female council employee told a jury at Exeter Crown Court that Baglow had squeezed her leg, run a hand down her back, and touched her breast under her clothing.
She said he put his hand up her top as she was printing documents for him at a photocopier at the offices in Tiverton.
Baglow has denied her claims and said he was not even in the office on two of the days when she alleged she was assaulted.
He had also denied sexual assaults on a teenaged girl and an adult woman in incidents which were not connected with his work.
He has told the jury that all sexual contact with the woman was consensual and said he never touched the girl.
Baglow, aged 54, of Raleigh Road, South Molton, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of sexual assault the same complainant while she was working at the council.
He also denies four counts of rape and two of assault by penetration against an adult woman and three counts of sexual assault against a girl who was aged 16 to 18 at the time.
Mr Lee Bremridge, prosecuting, said the adult female made the most serious allegations about Baglow in March 2020 and police interviewed the two other complainants during their inquiry.
Officers discovered that there had been a complaint of sexual harassment against Baglow when he was working for the council which had been investigated internally and found not to be proven.
Mr Bremridge said: “The three complainants all described Baglow sexually assaulting them. He says they are telling lies about him. The jury will have to decide where the truth lies.”
He said the adult woman alleged a series of sexual assaults while the teenager said she was touched sexually while at parties or barbecues at which Baglow was present.
The former council employee told the court that she had not complained about Baglow while she was at work but had chosen to leave and made her disclosure during an exit interview.
She described a series of incidents in which she said he had taken the opportunity to touch her, at one point simulating sex while stood behind her at a stationery cupboard.
She said he had asked her to print something for him and then joined her at the photocopier where he ran his hand up her top and touched her breast.
She said she had been shocked by that and previous incidents. She said: “When he first touched my leg I was a bit shocked and said “no” and walked away. I remember feeling really cross with myself later because I didn’t react more.
“I messaged my sister about it that evening and we had a conversation in which she said I should have slapped his balding head.”
The woman said she had gone back in his office on future occasions because he was her boss and she thought she would get into trouble if she refused.
She said he had assaulted her by the photocopier despite it being in a room with a window which anyone could have walked past.
She said:”He came up really close beside me and stood at an angle that meant I could not move. He put his right hand up inside my jumper inside my top and grabbed my actual boob.
“He said ‘It’s not just padding then’. I could not believe it. It was gross. If anyone had walked past, they would have seen us. Straight away I tried to get out. He took his hand out and walked off and went to his office.”
Baglow told the jury that none of the incidents had occurred and he had no physical contact with the woman. He said his timesheets showed that he was not even at the office at the time of two of the assaults which she alleged.
He said: “I always preached to my staff about appropriate behaviour. I would not have risked my career in that way. I had a good salary.”
He said he was shocked when he was told about the allegations which led to his immediate suspension pending an investigation which found them to be unproven.
He said he was in the process of returning to work in March 2020 when the more serious allegations were made by the adult woman, and that he resigned because of the police involvement.
He denied all the allegations made by the woman and also said he had never touched the teenaged girl.
The trial continues.