Rob Lowe's legal team have denounced a second sexual harassment claim made against the actor and his wife as "false".

The couple's former nanny Jessica Gibson filed a lawsuit in Santa Barbara, California last month, claiming The West Wing star had touched her inappropriately on several occasions between September 2005 and January 2008.

And Laura Boyce, who worked for the Lowe family for seven months last year, has accused Lowe's wife Sheryl of "behaving in a... perverted, disgusting and crude manner," in a countersuit filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to People magazine.

Ms Boyce says Sheryl Lowe was responsible for an "extremely sexually offensive and hostile work environment" and has alleged her contract was wrongfully terminated.

Lowe's lawyer Larry Stein has hit back, accusing lawyer Gloria Allred - representing both Ms Boyce and Ms Gibson - for attempting to "drag [Lowe's] wife and children into the fray".

"In response to a lawsuit against Laura Boyce by the Lowes, Ms Allred filed a cross-complaint on behalf of Boyce, which contains false allegations, in an apparent attempt to divert the negative publicity which Allred's client, Gibson, has universally received," he added.

"Although framed as a sexual harassment claim against both Sheryl and Rob Lowe, the cross-complaint alleges only words by Sheryl and never mentions any words or conduct by Rob whatsoever.

"The alleged statements by Sheryl are totally unrelated to, and do not provide any support for, Gibson's claims against Rob."

Lowe, currently starring in Brothers and Sisters, sued Ms Gibson, Ms Boyce and a third employee, Peter Clements, in April, claiming the nanny had led an extortion scheme by claiming that unless the actor and his wife pay her $1.5 million (£750,000) by April 11th, she would go public with the sexual harassment allegations.

01/05/2008 11:58:43