Touching by MP's aide 'very uncomfortable', woman says
A former employee of ex-federal MP Craig Kelly didn't speak up about his chief of staff Frank Zumbo indecently touching her because she feared retribution.
Continuing her evidence in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, the young woman said Zumbo, 55, had done this on multiple occasions in his car while giving her a lift home and in Kelly's Sutherland office.
"He would put his hand on my thigh and rub his hand down my thigh and against my vagina. He would rub his hand up and down on the outside of my pants," she told the court via video link.
"I was very uncomfortable."
Zumbo is facing 20 charges over conduct alleged by five different women, including sexual touching, indecent assault and common assault between 2014 and 2020.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and argues he tried to create a collegial work environment but no sexual activity ever occurred.
The woman who gave evidence on Tuesday cannot be legally named but was selected by Zumbo and Mr Kelly for work experience while she was still in high school. She then took up a part-time job at the politician's office while in university.
She has accused Zumbo of squeezing her breast until it hurt as he kissed and hugged her goodbye after work, and also of kissing her on the lips.
She did not complain about his conduct, saying she feared retribution if she spoke up.
"There would be consequences for me saying, 'Please don't do that' or 'I don't like that', such as exclusion from chatting to the girls at work, like isolation," she said.
A secretly recorded conversation was played to the court between Zumbo and four angry female staff members who had discovered fake social media accounts he had set up to follow people they knew so he could monitor their activities online.
The female staffers, who he referred to as the "sisters", created a secret "vent about Frank chat" on WhatsApp and would send whale emojis to warn each other that he was in a bad mood, the court heard.
In another recorded conversation between the woman and Zumbo in October 2017, he becomes frustrated after being told she would rather work than eat morning tea with him.
"If you say no to morning tea, you'll be pulling envelopes at the back all day," he tells her.
Taking her to the office printer room, which was hot without any air-con, he orders her to print envelopes for the remainder of the day and starts swearing and hitting the photocopier when it breaks down.
"It was not an easy or particularly desirable task and was often used if Frank was upset at one of us. We'd be banished to the printer room," the woman said in court.
After being told his aggression against the printer scared the women, Zumbo then berated her for "dumping him in it", questioning what would happen if she told her parents and they went to the police.
"You have verballed me, you have made me look bad," he said on October 16, 2017.
"People will believe you ... because you're the victim. You're the poor (young) vulnerable woman."
In another chat on October 30, 2017, Zumbo presses the alleged victim into whether she would still be able to go out with him "one on one" if she married because she had to obey her husband under a "warped view of Christianity".
"If your husband says, 'Don't go out with Frank,' you don't go out with Frank, so I'm going to get screwed," he said.
He repeatedly asked her to clarify with any future husband, who he referred to as a "no hoper piece of s*** who's jealous of me", that she would continue to see him alone as a friend, mentor and life coach.
At the time, the young woman did not have a boyfriend.
The hearing continues on Wednesday.