|MSG employee says sex with Knicks star was consensual|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 September 2007 14:28|
Kathleen Decker took the witness stand in a crowded Manhattan courtroom to try to settle for a jury what happened the night of her birthday in 2005 when she met Marbury at a strip club and got into the basketball star's truck.
She said she was not intoxicated when she left the club in Mount Vernon, N.Y., intending to get a ride home with Marbury's cousin. Instead, she encountered Marbury sitting in his truck calling out to her.
``Stephon Marbury asked me: 'Are you going to get in the truck?' and I got in the truck,'' she told the jury. Asked if the sex was consensual, she answered, ``Completely ... I was in control.''
One lawyer asked her if Marbury raped her. ``Never,'' she responded.
The testimony came after fired MSG vice president Anucha Browne Sanders testified as part of her sexual harassment case that Decker told her she felt no choice but to submit to Marbury's advances.
Browne Sanders had made it part of her $10 million claim in U.S. District Court that Madison Square Garden and the Knicks did not adequately respond to complaints of sexual harassment and abusive language by her boss, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas.
Decker was called as a witness by MSG to support its arguments that Browne Sanders was planning all along to sue Madison Square Garden and spent time before she was fired trying to build her case.
On cross examination, Decker, who was an intern at the time of the incident, said her superiors made her feel that her job might be in jeopardy after revealing the facts about the night of her birthday.
Decker became most emotional during her half-hour on the witness stand when she testified that Browne Sanders had been mean to her during encounters before she described the Marbury episode.
``She told me to sit down and she started yelling,'' Decker said.
In November 2005, Decker was summoned to the offices of Browne Sanders and two other employees to describe her birthday encounter with Marbury and his cousin as part of a probe of sexual harassment allegations against Marbury's cousin, also an MSG employee, she testified.
Decker said she told them the cousin had made an inappropriate comment to her nearly a year earlier but that she did not want to file a complaint. She added that she had an outside work relationship with him as well.
While speaking alone with Browne Sanders in her office, Decker described her birthday night, she said. On the witness stand, she disputed Browne Sanders' account of the night and said she never told anyone she regretted her night with Marbury.
``I didn't say it,'' she said.
She said when Marbury later sent her a text message saying he wanted more, she did not respond.
Marbury had testified earlier in the trial that he and Decker had other encounters after the initial night.
Browne Sanders, a former Northwestern basketball player, was hired by the Knicks in late 2000 and was fired in January 2006, months after complaining to MSG management that she was mistreated by Thomas.
As part of her lawsuit, Browne Sanders has asked for her job back, saying MSG retaliated against her by firing her for speaking out about sexual harassment.
The Garden claims she was dismissed in January 2006 for a failure to ``fulfill professional responsibilities.''
Decker testified that she has since been promoted and now works for the Garden as a community relations coordinator.