US police ‘open grope investigation into Sir Philip Green’

Sir Philip Green has been accused of groping and making unwanted sexual comments to a pilates instructor at the luxury Arizona ranch where he has a home 

Sir Philip Green has been accused of groping and making unwanted sexual comments to a pilates instructor at the luxury Arizona ranch where he has a home 

Sir Philip Green has been accused of groping and making unwanted sexual comments to a pilates instructor at the luxury Arizona ranch where he has a home 

American police are investigating after an Arizona fitness instructor came forward to accuse Sir Philip Green of sexually harassing and groping her on two separate occasions. 

Katie Surridge, who has waived her anonymity, teaches Pilates on the Arizona ranch where Topshop billionaire Sir Philip has a home. 

The 37-year-old made two separate complaints in 2016 and 2018, claiming that Sir Philip groped her bottom and made repeated sexual comments towards her despite being told to stop. 

The Pima County Sheriff’s department last night told the Telegraph that a formal investigation has been launched to establish whether a crime had been committed. 

Sir Philip through a spokesman denied the accusations, saying the incident ‘never happened’.

But the alleged victim told the Telegraph that he had made her feel ‘almost like a prostitute’ by repeatedly ‘spanking’ her and making lewd comments. 

‘I felt very taken advantage of and like, you know, just a piece of meat there at his disposal,’ Mrs Surridge told the British newspaper.

‘It feels completely sexual in nature. And the way – the noises, and the ‘oh, you naughty girl’. Like – ugh – I can hear him saying it right now.’ 

She further alleged that Sir Philip said ‘You Americans are so uptight’ after she expressed discomfort. 

Katie Surridge, 37, has waived her anonymity and spoken to the Telegraph about her accusations of sexual harassment against Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green 

Katie Surridge, 37, has waived her anonymity and spoken to the Telegraph about her accusations of sexual harassment against Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green 

Katie Surridge, 37, has waived her anonymity and spoken to the Telegraph about her accusations of sexual harassment against Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green 

A spokesman for Sir Philip Green said: ‘All this was investigated by Canyon Ranch at the time. Nothing was found against Sir Philip and the matter was dropped.

‘In terms of the allegation, it did not happen. Sir Philip has visited the ranch since that time and has no issues with the management or any of the people there.’ 

Yet the Telegraph has spoken to a witness who admitted to seeing 66-year-old Sir Philip – who has reportedly been banned from the ranch facilities pending the investigation – grabbing the complainant’s bottom as if ‘testing a piece of fruit’. 

Mrs Surridge said the first incident occurred on January 5 2016, after a Pilates class.

Sir Philip allegedly walked into her studio and slapped her ‘somewhere between six to 10 times’ on her bottom. He then demanded a private session, she alleges, saying he needed her to ‘stretch him’ and touching her again as he left the studio. 

Both Mrs Surridgge and the witness filed formal complaints to the ranch management, who took the matter up with Sir Philip, the Telegraph reports. No further action was taken.

The second incident is alleged to have occurred two years later, on January 9 2018. 

Mrs Surridge claims that Sir Philip greeted her with a kiss on each cheek before putting his arms around her waist and then resting it on her bottom. When she tried to pull away, she says, he grabbed her and pulled her back.  

For the rest of the class, which Mrs Surridge said was the ‘longest 45 minutes of my life’, Sir Philip is alleged to have made sexual comments and repeatedly touched her inappropriately.    

Mrs Surridge says the power dynamic and requirement to be polite to guests at the resort, particularly VIPs, meant she felt she had to stay professional, calm and outwardly friendly towards Sir Philip. 

But she added that she later cried in distress and told bosses she could never work with the billionaire again. 

One witness corroborated Mrs Surridge's (pictured) allegation and said he grabbed her bottom as if 'testing a piece of fruit'

One witness corroborated Mrs Surridge's (pictured) allegation and said he grabbed her bottom as if 'testing a piece of fruit'

One witness corroborated Mrs Surridge’s (pictured) allegation and said he grabbed her bottom as if ‘testing a piece of fruit’

The luxury wellness lifestyle resort costs $1,000 (£765) a night and was a refuge for Sir Philip following the first accusations of sexual harassment against him from three women in Britain.

The women were made to sign non-disclosure agreements and paid vast amounts of ‘hush money’ to keep silent.

But the Telegraph reports that two different women alleged they were groped by him at the American ranch – and one has filed a formal complaint.  

Mrs Surridge, who is pregnant with her third child, has worked at the ranch since 2006.   

A spokesman for Canyon Ranch told the Telegraph: ‘We do not discuss personnel matters out of sensitivity for employee privacy and will not comment on these allegations. Canyon Ranch does not condone or tolerate inappropriate behaviour towards our employees.

‘We have strict policies and procedures that prohibit inappropriate behaviour, and takes prompt, remedial action with respect to inappropriate behaviour allegations reported to us.’

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