A woman who is accusing a Columbus lawyer of sexually molesting her during the years she worked for him testified at his trial yesterday that she continued to rely upon him for legal advice and would hire him "even now."

"Javier's a good attorney," the former employee of Javier Armengau testified in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. "I respect him as an attorney."

The 38-year-old woman's admission came during a contentious cross-examination by defense attorney Frederick Benton, who sought to establish that the woman stayed friendly with Armengau well after the time she said the incidents had occurred.

The woman's name is being withheld by The Dispatch because of the sexual nature of the allegations.

Also yesterday, the defense was dealt a setback when Judge David W. Fais ruled that Benton could not ask the woman in front of the jury about an unrelated rape report that she made against another man in 1999.

Benton was permitted, outside of the jury's presence, to ask the woman whether the allegation was false. She said no.

Armengau, 52, is charged with rape, sexual battery, kidnapping, gross sexual imposition and public indecency. The charges relate to allegations by five women - a former employee, former clients and the mothers of former clients - associated with his work as a criminal defense attorney.

Jurors already had heard this week from Catherine Collins, who testified that Armengau grabbed her breasts and exposed his penis to her during a meeting about her son's murder case at his Brewery District office on April 4, 2013.

The Dispatch has identified Collins because she told her story to the newspaper last year and was willing to be named.

After spitting her chewing gum into a napkin at Fais' request, the 38-year-old mother of four who testified yesterday said that she is bipolar, was abused as a child and has been convicted as an adult of offenses that included theft, drunken driving and disorderly conduct.

She said she first met Armengau in 1998 in Marion, Ohio, where he also practices law. She said she eventually was hired to do errands for him around the office and that soon after he put his hands down her shirt and exposed himself to her.

His demands for oral sex persisted for years, she said. She said she obliged because "I felt I had no choice."

She said Armengau once commented that he couldn't have her around the office all the time because "no work would get done except for my mouth."

After the woman said she had been forced to perform oral sex on Armengau more than 50 times over about 10 years, Benton requested a mistrial, saying the testimony jeopardized his client's right to a fair trial.

He said the indictment against Armengau alleged only two incidents involving her. Claims of so many other incidents were both nonspecific and highly prejudicial, he said.

Pressed by Benton for a single specific date, the woman came up with only one: She said that Armengau made her perform oral sex on him on Sept. 11, 2001, as they watched the terrorist attack unfold on television in his office.

Assistant Attorney General Daniel Breyer said that defense attorneys knew the scope of the woman's allegations beforehand and that her testimony highlighted Armengau's "scheme" to take advantage of her.

Prosecutors with the state attorney general's office are trying the case after Franklin County prosecutors begged off to avoid the appearance of conflict.

Fais denied the mistrial request after a two-hour recess.

In the 1999 incident that the jury wasn't permitted to hear about, the woman said that she was raped after meeting a man at a Columbus bar and going home with him. She said she awoke to his roommate raping her.

The man denied the accusation, and police records show that no DNA was found. A law-enforcement source familiar with the case confirmed to The Dispatch yesterday that he was not charged.