Catherine Tramell Josephine “Josie” Browne (pictured), a Police Community Support Officer in London, is accused of sexually harassing her gay male co-worker, repeatedly smacking him on the butt, coming onto him in an elevator, performing unwanted impromptu stripteases in front of him, and spying on him in the locker room.
Sounds like a ’90s erotic thriller gone all wrong.
“The prosecution say that she slapped him a number of times on his buttocks and that those slaps were sexual in nature,” prosecuting attorney Leo Seelig said on Monday. “Miss Browne took an unhealthy and, you may think, an odd interest in her colleague. That interest was demonstrated by a number of incidents.”
It all started when Browne was allegedly caught spying on her victim in the locker room. The room had a separate sides for men and women, with a wall of lockers dividing the two.
“Shortly after Miss Browne joined the team,” Seelig said, “[the victim] was getting changed in this room when he became aware of somebody watching him. It was Miss Browne and she was standing a few feet away with her face half covered by another person’s locker, peering around it watching him.”
If that’s not creepy enough, it happened four different times.
“On one occasion,” Seelig continued, “[the victim] was again getting changed in the locker room when Miss Browne walked around from her side of it, the female changing side, with her shirt undone and her bra exposed. When he asked her what she was doing she replied ‘Oh, it’s that time of the month, I’m not quite with it.’”
Speaking of “not quite with it,” Browne is also accused of talking to animals. And plants.
“We would got out on patrol,” the victim testified. “Josie would stop and she would be stroking a leaf and she would be talking to it.”
The fact that her victim was gay didn’t deter Browne from continuing to make unwanted sexual advances towards him. He claims that one time he was sitting at his desk when she squeezed his shoulder then said he “looked tense” and that she wanted to give him a “massage.”
A week later, she came onto him in an elevator.
“As soon as the door to the lift closed and the lift started moving,” Seelig told the courtroom. “Miss Browne leaned provocatively against the walls of the lift, raised her arms above the buttons of the control panel, leaned towards him and said ‘I know why you’re taking me to the fourth floor.’”
The final straw came last August, when Browne psychotically spanked the victim over and over again while he was struggling to lift a filing cabinet.
“I was really shocked,” the victim told the court. “And I was like ‘oh my god’ under my breath.”
Another co-worker, Danielle Figes, witnessed the spanking. She testified that Browne’s face turned bright red as she launched her palm into her colleague’s buttocks.
“What I saw was her elbow come backwards and as it came forwards I have heard a connection,” Figes said. “So I have heard the slaps. I heard five occasions of that one after another. Her face went red, it looked like she was putting a lot of effort into it and I did think ‘That’s got to hurt!’”
“It wasn’t in a playful manner,” Figes continued. “There was exertion put into it.”
Browne denies any wrongdoing.
“There was a whole lot of sexual intent, a whole lot of provocative behavior,” Seelig told the court. “It doesn’t matter whether he is gay, it was what she was doing.”
A verdict is expected Wednesday morning.