News State Victoria News Sexual pest victim wins $500k

Sexual pest victim wins $500k

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A Melbourne woman who had a record $500,000 payout for sexual harassment upheld has demanded an independent investigation into the handling of her criminal case.

Accountant Jemma Ewin was at a work party in 2009 when she had sex without consent with colleague Claudio Vergara.

A federal court judge found Ms Ewin believed her drink was spiked, but could not find any evidence to support that.

The judge ruled Mr Vergara should have understood “no meant no” and ordered him to contribute to a record sexual harassment payout worth nearly $500,000.

Mr Vergara appealed against the finding, but it was upheld by the full bench of the Federal Court on Tuesday.

Mr Vergara was never charged over the incident.

Mr Vergara was ordered to pay Ms Ewin more than $200,000 in compensation and the remainder of the money was to be paid by her former employer.

Outside the court, Ms Ewin said she was relieved at winning the civil case, but disappointed with the criminal investigation.

“Too often Victoria Police’s response is you must have asked for it, you led him on, perhaps you didn’t look out for yourself well enough,” she said.

“It’s absolutely not true. Sexual assault is an offence and no means no under any circumstances.”

Ms Ewin called for an independent investigation into the handling of her criminal case.

She said police investigated twice and failed to find key evidence.

“I can’t get on with my life until the authorities in Victoria are held to account for their woeful mishandling of my criminal police matter,” she said.

“I’m very pleased with today’s decision. It’s vindicated a very long, five-year fight for justice.

“Unless you’re prepared to sacrifice everything for justice you are pushed aside and told just to forget about it, get on with your life.”

Mr Vergara issued a statement from his lawyers saying he feels “aggrieved” by the judgment.

“I am considering whether to apply for special leave to appeal,” he said.

“Given this it is inappropriate for me to comment at this time.”

ABC News contacted Victoria Police for comment.