An Arabic interpreter for the BBC’s World Service, accused of subjecting an 18 year-old secretary to a daily ordeal of sexual abuse during the eighties, has been acquitted.
Walid Moussa, 76, was employed within the corporation’s International Broadcasting and Audience Research Department at Queens House, Kingsway, Holborn.
“It didn’t happen once, but daily for almost a year,” prosecutor Mr. Subhankar Banerjee told Harrow Crown Court. “The assaults took place while she was working at the BBC.”
The defence suggested the complaint was motivated by the woman’s desire for financial compensation.
She told the jury during her evidence she did not know Moussa’s behaviour amounted to sexual abuse at the time.
It was the teen’s first job and she told the court: “He seemed a nice friendly man, which made me think he was a nice person.
“After a couple of months he asked me questions about my sex life and showed me pictures of women, some topless or in bikinis and asked me if I would pose in the same manner.
“I was taken aback. I didn’t have a sex life, I didn’t believe in sex before marriage.
“It had been quite a nice job to begin with and I wasn’t enjoying going to work anymore.
“It got worse. He came around his desk and before I knew anything he was in front of me putting his hand down my top.
“I felt incredibly scared, I couldn’t move, I was incredibly shocked. I can only describe it as groping and I felt like it was forever.
“He told me I was a mere secretary and he was an Arabic translator and it would be much easier to replace me than him.
“I knew there were tears rolling down my face and I composed myself before seeing the other staff. Obviously I didn’t want to create a big fuss.
“I believed I’d be labelled a troublemaker and wouldn’t be able to get a job.”
On one occasion the abuse escalated, she claimed. “He put his hand up my skirt and it happened one time because after that I always wore trousers.”
It was only after publicity surrounding the Jimmy Savile scandal that the woman reported father-of-two Moussa to police and she was interviewed by Operation Yewtree officers.
Describing the first incident Mr. Banerjee said: “The defendant suddenly got up and came around the desk and put his hand inside her blouse and bra and fondled her breast.
“She remembers freezing in shock,” he added, explaining: “This groping continued until she left the BBC in July, 1984.
“She did not report what happened because she was frightened of losing her job.”
It was only on her last day of work she reported Moussa to two supervisors, but the defendant’s career went from strength to strength.
“This defendant went onto work for the government and was vetted to the highest possible standard and there was no suggestion of sexual impropriety during that vetting procedure.”
Moussa, of Fursby Avenue, West Finchley was found not guilty of four counts of indecently assaulting the woman between July 17, 1983 and July 7, 1984.