A female executive who won £100,000 after her boss sexually harassed her has told how her ordeal has left her ‘scarred, angry and enduring a daily emotional rollercoaster’.
Louise Crabtree opened up about the year-long campaign of harassment by sex pest company boss Marc Bandemer, revealing she felt as if she was being ‘groomed’.
Speaking candidly about the toll of his harassment, the mother-of-three said Mr Bandemer’s repeated advances have traumatised her so much she can no longer work for a man.
Senior executive Ms Crabtree, 49, said German Mr Bandemer, 59, treated her like his ‘property’ as he openly called her his ‘second wife’ and physically pulled her onto his lap in front of her family and partner.
Mr Bandemer called her ‘naughty’, ‘brat’ and ‘girl’, ogled her body, bought her a ‘commitment’ ring, confessed his love for her, and offered to buy them a ‘love nest’ in Cyprus.
Louise Crabtree (pictured) has opened up about the year-long campaign of harassment by her sex pest company boss
Marc Bandemer (pictured) called Ms Crabtree a ‘naughty girl’ and offered to buy them a Cyprus ‘love nest’
Despite feeling ‘totally violated’, the mother of three said she didn’t want to upset him as she feared losing her job.
But now, speaking after successfully suing Mr Bandemer and his company, Ms Crabtree has admitted ‘I feel angry at myself that I didn’t say stop enough times’.
On Wednesday investment executive Ms Crabtree was awarded £99,214 in compensation.
Ms Crabtree had successfully sued Mr Bandemer and his company Integer Wealth Global for sexual harassment after she was ‘ousted’ from her £124,000 a year job.
It was heard after one month of joining the Hampshire-based company in April 2021 Mr Bandemer began subjecting her to degrading sexist comments that ‘crossed the boundary’.
The harassment continued for months, with Ms Crabtree feeling ‘trapped’ as she didn’t want to lose her job, until she started to put her foot down and he froze her out the company in May 2022.
Ms Crabtree, from Romsey, Hampshire, penned a witness statement – which was presented to the tribunal – speaking of the impact the harassment had on her.
In it she said: ‘When I joined [Mr Bandemer] and his group of companies, I was happy and excited to work and to embark on a new career supporting my kids independently.
The mother said Mr Bandemer’s repeated advances have traumatised her so much she can no longer work for a man
‘The impact on my mental and physical health due to the sexual harassment as well as the stress of him controlling me through not paying my salary consistently impacts me to this day.
‘His hostility towards me when I didn’t do it as he said, or when I tried to address issues such as my salary, his behaviour, his comment or the fear and intimidation he inflicted when he demoted me has left me scarred and I struggle to deal with his treatment of me.
‘I feel angry at myself that I didn’t say stop enough times.
‘His treatment of me has impacted my life financially, mentally and physically and will take me a long time to fully recover or regain trust if I decide to work for a company again.
‘I feel I was groomed by [Mr Bandemer] and feel angry at myself for allowing it to happen.
‘Following my termination… the fear of suddenly having no income and them not even offering me notice pay or holiday pay sent me into a panic.
‘I initially attempted to have interviews with other prospective employers, but both were male, and I mentally felt I couldn’t work in an environment where my boss was male.
‘I set up my own company and tried to bury my mental health issues as my over riding objective was to somehow support myself and kids.
‘This wasn’t one isolated incident or a few but a constant emotional and physical rollercoaster of stress and anxiety that I had to and still endure.
‘No one can possibly understand the daily turmoil I was under even when seeing my apparent light-hearted reactions or dismissal of his advances which were a way of survival for me.’
Ms Crabtree said after joining in April 2021 she bit her tongue.
‘When the comments started to cross the boundary from May 2021, I did not want to rock the boat and I addressed it through humour or by ignoring’, she said.
‘But it had no effect. I asked him not to be inappropriate.
‘I could see he was the authoritative figure and would do what he wanted even if I objected.
‘Externally I put on a brave face and laughed or ignored comments, underneath I felt demeaned and embarrassed by the inappropriate comments and touching during my tenure.
‘As his advances intensified, I felt trapped as to what to say or do.
Ms Crabtree had successfully sued Mr Bandemer and his company Integer Wealth Global for sexual harassment after she was ‘ousted’ from her £124,000 a year job
‘I had asked him to stop or told him how I felt on previous occasions, but it had no affect other than to aggravate him or result in me working in a hostile environment with him threatening to discipline me or being short-tempered with me.’
She added: ‘During the trip to Luxembourg, I felt demeaned by his comments and the way he insisted to follow me into shops or come swimming with me.
‘When he eyed me up and down in my swimsuit I felt violated, especially when he made comments about my body and how good I looked.
‘He called me naughty in front of others as well as his second wife and it made me feel like I was his property.
‘The worst part was when he attempted to lure me into his bedroom. I felt horrified and trapped as I had to remain by his side for meetings and was under his complete control.
‘When he grabbed me or touched me, I felt very uncomfortable and violated.
‘It made the feelings even worse because they happened in front of friends and colleagues.
‘I felt embarrassed, humiliated and it was hard to say no to him when I was subordinate to him.
‘I was horrified when it happened in front of my daughter but she didn’t understand I depended on [him] for my salary to support us and I was afraid and anxious to lose my job.
‘It distressed me to see how upset [her daughter] was being exposed to this behaviour as documented in the recording.
‘The incident at my birthday party where he physically attempted to pull me onto his lap, in front of my family and partner was humiliating, which I tried to address in a phone call to him and email.
Mr Bandemer called Ms Crabtree ‘naughty’, ‘brat’ and ‘girl’, ogled her body, bought her a ‘commitment’ ring, confessed his love for her, and offered to buy them a ‘love nest’ in Cyprus
‘Confronting Mr Bandemer was difficult to do. I was subordinate to him and didn’t want to displease him or lose my job by raising an issue and told him several times.
‘The phone conversation asking him to stop displeased him and within weeks he punished me by threatening me with insubordination.
‘I was constantly treading on eggshells… unable to deal with him being nice one minute, aggressive and hostile the next, and it left me unable to sleep and caused me so much anxiety daily.
‘I was in constant turmoil during my tenure having either to endure constant inappropriate comments and unwanted physical contact as well as the financial stress of never knowing if I would receive my income at the end of each month…
Ms Crabtree said receiving a vase that said ‘Louise, the flowers herein will never surpass your beauty’ was ‘distressing’.
She said the ‘commitment’ ring he got her looked like an engagement ring and she ‘couldn’t bring myself to look at it or wear it’.
‘When he would call me his second wife to colleagues and family members, I felt like I was his property and totally helpless as I was junior to him, and he was my boss’, she added.
‘It was degrading and embarrassing every time he said it, and it made me anxious and on edge especially when I did nothing about it.
‘The constant emails where he referred to me in sexist terms like naughty girl or brat over months of my employment was degrading and distressing since I could do nothing about it.
‘When he stated that even though I had a partner that I was his and he loved me far more than my partner did, I felt like I was his property and inferior to him and nothing I could say or do would change his repeated sexual harassment towards me.
‘I was not sleeping and suffering stress and anxiety daily.’
After she stood up against him, Ms Crabtree was removed from the company.
She said: ‘Mr Bandemer made it clear I had ‘disrespected him’ and there were consequences and this resulted in working daily without direction and totally stressing that my job was in jeopardy.
‘I felt isolated and it was clear that I was being ousted by Mr Bandemer because I had rejected him, and this daily uncertainty became unbearable mentally and physically.
‘It was as bad as the harassment and discrimination I had been subject to throughout my tenure.
‘I felt I was ousted from the ‘boys club; and no longer part of the team I had worked so hard and created the only revenue for the company but now I was being punished for rejecting his advances.
‘I felt ganged up against and my job was in jeopardy. I could see Mr Bandemer no longer wanted me in the company and was helpless as to what to do.’