Conduct: Tom Starkey blasts allegations as ‘preposterous’

A social worker facing sex harassment charges today denied boasting that his money and sexual prowess made him irresistible to women.

Tom Starkey told a GSCC conduct committee that “you would have to be the biggest nerd” to chat up a woman by bragging in this way. “It is pompous and ridiculous. If this was not so serious I would laugh at it. It is preposterous nonsense,” he said.

Starkey is alleged to have made the claims to one of four women he worked with as a director at children’s and adult’s provider Clifford House.

He also denied telling another of the women that her new haircut made her look like a lesbian. But he admitted commenting after she had returned from a 6 month secondment that she looked like a “typical social worker” in that she wore jeans, boots and had short hair.

Starkey said he had had an affair with another of the four women, Victoria Preece, but said that the “clandestine” nature of the relationship meant that there were no witnesses to it. He said the pair agreed to end the affair after 18 months believing it was “jinxed” because they would often bump into someone either of them knew when they met in secret.

Preece, who denied an affair with Starkey, gave evidence last year claiming he had shown her his erection while sitting at his desk. Starkey said today he had never made this gesture but admitted “it may have been visible on occasions”.

The hearing continues.

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