By MEGHAN PIERCE
NEW IPSWICH — Accusations of sexual harassment at the New Ipswich town offices continue today in Keene district court.
In the Jaffrey district court on Friday, New Ipswich budget committee member Alan Doyle argued he had not sexually harassed New Ipswich Town Clerk/Tax Collector Jessica Olson.
After three hours in the Jaffrey district court on Friday afternoon, the hearing was continued to Keene District Court this afternoon, Wed, Feb. 21.
Olson was granted a temporary restraining protecting her from Olson on Feb. 5. The order remains in place till the district court judge can decide the case.
Olson alleges that Doyle lifted up her blouse twice at the town offices on Dec. 5, Doyle, saying the first time he was “peeking” and the second time that he was “gawking.”
Olson said on the stand Friday she reported the incident to Administrator Joanne Meshna on Dec. 6., telling her the incidents made her feel “yucky.”
“She was visibly upset and teary eyed when relating the incidents and discussing the situation,” Meshna wrote in a report of her interview with Olson.
Meshna conducted an internal investigation and concluded Doyle had violated the town’s policy on sexual harassment and sent Doyle a letter informing him to make an appointment with her, Meshna, before coming to the town office.
Olson said she sought the retraining order after Doyle ignored Meshna’s letter and showed up at the town offices while she was working, making her upset, nervous and feeling intimidated. She also said because Dolye would not notify the town of when he was coming to the town offices the town officials requested a New Ipswich police detail one night so that a police officer would sit in the town clerk’s lobby during a meeting Doyle might attend.
Olson described one evening Doyle had come to the town offices for a meeting when she was working and she looked up and saw Doyle standing in the hallway glaring at her with his arms crossed. Olson said after he left she drew the shade of her clerk window, locked up and hid in her office while her assistant continued to work till the office closed at 7 p.m.
When Doyle took the stand Friday, he insisted he had never violated the town’s policy on sexual harassment and said that before these Dec. 5 allegations he and Olson had a flirtatious friendship in which she always hugging and kissing him. Doyle also insisted he didn’t lift Olson’s blouse twice on Dec. 5, but flicked once and said, “Woo, Woo.”
When cross-examined, Doyle admitted he has never seen or read the town’s policy on sexual harassment, but maintained he had not sexually harassed Olson. Doyle said he only goes to the town offices to fulfill his duties as a budget committee member not to intimidate Olson.
Doyle, his wife former Selectwoman Rebecca Doyle and another New Ipswich resident all testified that Doyle and Olson had a flirty relationship dating back to a 2015 pool party at the Doyles’ house and that Olson had hugged and kissed Doyle on a regular basis.
Olson denied these claims, saying she has never kissed Doyle.