Craig Kelly adviser Frank Zumbo exposed himself to young staffer, court told | New South Wales

A young woman has told a court the office manager of former MP Craig Kelly spent years kissing and sexually touching her – but she was still shocked by one incident that brought her to tears.

The woman had been out to dinner with Francesco “Frank” Zumbo to secure a reference from her boss she had worked with for three years; she told Sydney’s local court on Thursday.

Zumbo first requested another drink “for old time sake” and then just “one more cigarette” after she asked for her regular lift home.

Sitting on a park bench, he pulled the woman in close, kissing her on the cheek. The young woman then looked down.

“His pants were unzipped, and his penis was out a bit.”

She had mentally prepared for a kiss on the cheek, telling herself to “just get through this”. But after seeing “his dick on the bench,” she began crying.

“I said, ‘Frank, no, please, can I just go home.’”

Craig Kelly

Zumbo, 55, is accused by five women of 20 charges, including sexual touching and indecent assault between 2014 and 2020.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and argues he tried to create a collegial work environment, but no sexual activity ever occurred.

The witness was 21 when Zumbo, her professor at the University of New South Wales, offered her “a couple of days work experience with Craig Kelly MP”.

She was excited that he was advocating for young women to get an opportunity in politics and felt lucky to be there.

“Nobody else gave us a chance,” she said.

The greetings in Kelly’s office, where he was largely absent while in Canberra, always began with the door closed, blinds drawn, and a kiss on her cheek.

She said she was uncomfortable, but “it wasn’t the worst thing in the world”.

This escalated, she said, and Zumbo told her friendships were a two-way street and asked her to reciprocate the kiss on him, in line with his “Italian culture”.

By the end, he was lifting her and rubbing her tightly, she said.

During her three-year tenure at the Sutherland shire office as an electoral officer, Zumbo made the young women join a group chat.

The online group Zumbo was an “honorary member” of was called The Sisterhood of the Travelling EO, about their work as electoral officers.

After the witness left her job,, a new group chat called Sisterhood Trauma Support was formed.

The court heard Zumbo regularly refer to her as a “hot piece of arse” and interrogated her sexual relationships, getting angry when she said she was in one.

But the “sisterhood” was not allowed to speak outside the office, and she said Zumbo would regularly confiscate their phones to check if they had been in contact.

When he found out two colleagues were catching the train to the office together, he phoned one to ensure there was no communication between them.

After another dinner, the witness was smoking outside on a balcony. She said Zumbo approached her from behind, grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her in, trying to kiss her on the lips.

She said she pushed him away and confronted him later, saying the behavior was sexual assault.

She told the court he responded that if she were to make those allegations, “I would be another girl not good at my job claiming [it] to defend myself”.

She said she wanted to leave but was reminded that he was the reason she had the job, and if she did, she would never work in politics again.

The trial continues.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.