City panel hears tell of alleged assault of woman at dbar

Last summer, on the night of July 21, a man who’d been creeping up on a group of woman at dbar followed one of them into the restroom and, she said, sexually assaulted her after she came out of a stall, a Boston Police officer told the Boston Licensing Board during a hearing last Tuesday.

Officer Paul Delaney gave the following account of that evening, according to the woman and others: “A group of women arrived at the bar between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. They stayed to themselves, but one of them saw that a man in the bar kept looking their way while keeping to the dark parts of the room. At one point, he came over, sat next to the woman who had noticed him, and tried to get her interested in him. She told him she wasn’t interested.

“Then, she got up to use the bar’s unisex restroom. She entered a stall and had to keep the door closed with one hand because the latch wouldn’t work. At that point, the man walked in, and she had to decide whether to stay in the stall or try to leave. She chose to leave, but he grabbed her by the wrist, pulled her to him, kissed her on the mouth, and began groping her – while suggesting they exchange Snapchats on their phones.

“She kept struggling with him the whole time, and just as she’d managed to at least get him at arm’s length, a friend of hers, concerned by how long she’d been away, came into the restroom and got her completely away from the attacker.”

Delaney told the board members that the woman and most of her friends then went out to the patio, where she “broke down crying.” One friend told a bouncer the man had just accosted her friend and pointed out the suspect. The bouncer, Delaney said, escorted the man outside and watched until he got into a ten-year-old Acura RL and drove away.

At issue for the licensing board is why nobody at dbar called the law to respond to the incident. Police learned of the incident when the woman came into District C-11 in Dorchester the next day to report it, Delaney said.

Mitchell Hayes, a member of the management team at the company that owns dbar, said at the time nobody at dbar realized just how bad the situation was. Instead, they thought the guy was a creeper, not an attacker, and noted that the victim and the other women remained at the bar until about 1 a.m., dancing.

He added that the bar manager did talk to her to see if she was OK and needed anything, and she said no, Hayes said.

The dbar’s attorney, Dennis Quilty, said that one of the friends returned to the bar the next day - she had left her credit card behind - and thanked the manager she talked to for the way the bar handled the incident.

“I feel terrible that happened in our restaurant,” Hayes said after hearing Delaney read his report. He noted that when police came to investigate, dbar gave them some video that showed the man in the bar - and that dbar itself now has a photo of him from that video so that if he ever returns, somebody will immediately call police.

The licensing board will meet next Thursday (Dec. 20) to decide whether dbar deserves any punishment for its handling of the incident.