LOS ANGELES – A former nanny for Rob Lowe took part in a dramatic, tear-filled press conference Thursday regarding her lawsuit that accuses the actor's wife of sexual harassment.
Laura Boyce, former nanny to the Lowes, clutched a tissue and openly sobbed as attorney Gloria Allred read a statement explaining the reasons for the suit, which was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Allred kept her arm around the woman throughout the announcement; at times, Boyce nuzzled her face into the attorney's shoulder.
Boyce is one of three ex-employees the Lowes sued last month, claiming the workers spread lies about the couple and broke confidentiality agreements.
"Their lawsuit appeared to be a pre-emptive strike because the Lowes feared that one or both of their former nannies were about to sue them for sexual harassment and other claims," Allred said.
The attorney is also representing former nanny Jessica Gibson, who countersued the couple last month, claiming Rob Lowe sexually harassed her.
Boyce's lawsuit alleges that Lowe's wife, Sheryl, walked around naked in front of her and repeatedly made crude comments about her boyfriend's genitals. It doesn't make any sex allegations against the actor, though he is named in the cross-complaint.
The lawsuit claims that Sheryl Lowe "made numerous sexually crude, lascivious and racially derogatory comments. The last sexually and racially offensive comment made by cross-defendant Sheryl Lowe on November 16, 2007 ... forced (Boyce) to resign her employment."
Sheryl Lowe also discussed her sex life with her husband in detail with Boyce, the lawsuit claims, and would ask intrusive questions about the nanny's sex life, according to the lawsuit.
It goes on to say that Boyce advised Sheryl Lowe "on many occasions" that she "did not want to engage in that type of (sexual) conversation."
Boyce also claims she was wrongfully fired and is owed money.
Sheryl Lowe's attorney, Lawrence Stein, says the allegations are false.
Boyce read a brief statement during the press conference, dabbing her eyes and crying throughout.
"I respected the Lowes and did everything I could to assist them in their home by taking care of their children," she said between sobs. "I was devastated to find out that the Lowes had sued me because she actually called me the week before and offered me my job. I can't believe she's doing this to me."
At that point, Boyce began gasping and trembling and was unable to continue.
Allred hugged the woman and whispered, "Shh, it's OK."
"She's very brave," Allred said. Then the attorney told her client to "move aside."
"I'm going to read the rest of her statement," Allred said.
The attorney took a few questions from reporters, then cut the press conference short "because I'm concerned this is just too much for her," she said, clutching Boyce close and stroking her hair.
"We believe the tactics that the Lowes have used in suing two poor, defenseless nannies who loved and cared for their children is despicable and they will not be able to hide behind their star power, their money, their high-priced legal talent or their confidentiality clauses to shield themselves from their own improper conduct," Allred said. "We intend to litigate this fiercely ... We are on top of this, all over it, under it and around it, and we are not going to stop until there is justice for Ms. Boyce and Ms. Gibson."
"And truth," added Boyce, Kleenex in hand.