British Billionaire and Topshop tycoon, Sir Philip Green,67, has been charged with assault in the US after a pilates instructor alleged he repeatedly touched her inappropriately.
Prosecutors in Arizona on Friday announced that the Billionaire would be charged with four misdemeanour assault counts over allegations made by 37-year-old Katie Surridge.
“These are class three misdemeanours. Each count has a potential sentence of up to 30 days in the Pima county jail, a fine of not more than $500, and up to one year of probation,” deputy county attorney Deakin said.
Ms. Surridge claimed he spanked and grabbed her backside during classes in the Canyon Ranch luxury resort in Tucson in 2016 and 2018.
The mother-of-three said in a police interview that the ‘creepy old man’ had ‘vigorously’ slapped her bottom up to 10 times in January 2016.
Ms. Surridge said she was worried about frustrating a “high roller” at the resort following the 2016 incident, but decided to speak to management who said they spoke to Green and reassured her it would not happen again.
But Surridge told police that Green assaulted her a second time in January 2018.
“This time, instead of slapping my butt, he puts his hands, like, he wraps his hands around my waist and then grabs my butt cheek and just puts his hand there and just holds it there as he’s hugging me,” she said.
He went on to make uncomfortable comments and pat her exposed stomach as she demonstrated an exercise, Surridge alleged.
“And then the session ended and I immediately went upstairs to [management’s] office and I was in tears and I said: ‘He was told never to touch me again and here he is touching me again’,” Surridge told police.
Kimberly Khoury, a homeowner at the resort, who police described as an independent witness also gave an account of what she claims to have seen in 2016.
‘I see his hand go reach out and, like, pat her buttocks,’ Ms Khoury told the officer. ‘And then pat it again and like, grab her buttocks. And then she kind of moved, like, startled a little bit. And took like a step away. And then he removed his hand and brought it back.
‘I can’t tell you what we talked about because I was so focused on what was happening with his … uh, his octopus-like hand.’
They continued talking before he grabbed Ms.
Surridge’s bottom again, Ms Khoury alleged.
She continued: ‘And like, slaps, you know, spanks it, whatever, so like, taps it. And then grabs again and this happened in the course of like a minute-and-a-half, or two minutes.
‘He did that three or four times. It was pretty clear that, to me, that she wasn’t welcoming the behaviour.’
A spokesman for Sir Philip, issued by Arcadia, said: ‘Sir Philip strenuously denies these allegations and is disappointed that the charges have been filed in his absence and they are minor categories of misdemeanour in the United States.
‘Sir Philip is not personally required to attend before the court at the forthcoming hearing and will be represented by his lawyer.
‘Contrary to previous suggestions in the media there is no allegation of any sexual assault or misconduct made by the prosecution.’
Deputy county attorney Lauren Deakin said this evening: ‘Philip Green has been formally charged with four misdemeanour assault counts (ARS 13-1203 (A) (3) knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke).
The case will return to court in Tucson on 19 June, according to the court filings.