Categorized | Canadian Politics

Premier confirms ‘troubling’ sex assault allegations against unnamed former Liberal cabinet minister

Posted on 22 February 2018 by admin

Liberal MPP would have served in the cabinet of David Peterson, who was premier from 1985 to 1990.

A woman alleges she was groped and propositioned by a former Liberal MPP and subjected to his “chronic inebriation” — and that her initial complaint, more than a decade ago, went ignored.

The former political staff member sent a letter outlining the 2006 sexual assault allegations three weeks ago to an email address for Premier Kathleen Wynne and was contacted by a lawyer earlier this week seeking to discuss the incidents.

Wynne told reporters at the Toronto auto show on Friday that her constituency office in Don Valley West was first contacted about the unnamed former politician.

“My office has received information that involved troubling allegations related to an MPP who held a cabinet office portfolio at one point, left the legislature many years ago and was never a member of my or premier (Dalton) McGuinty’s cabinet,” she said.

Given that description, the former MPP would have served in the cabinet of David Peterson, who was Liberal premier from 1985 to 1990, and possibly remained a member of the legislature for years afterward under subsequent party leaders.

 “Since becoming premier in 2013 I have not been informed of any complaints of this nature against any member of my cabinet,” said Wynne, who has, however, dealt with complaints about at least two MPPs, including Kim Craitor (Niagara) who was forced to resign five years ago over sexual harassment allegations.

Wynne said legal counsel was asked to contact the complainant, who is represented by lawyer John Nunziata. He first tweeted the allegations Thursday night.

Nunziata told the Star the initial complaint was lodged in 2006, but nothing was done. His client was subsequently moved to work for another MPP and later found herself unemployed.

He said the woman — who is on a first-name basis with the premier, having known her from her days as a school trustee — sent Wynne the email but only heard from a lawyer this week via email. The complainant expected better from the premier, he added.

“My client has not been dealt with with respect,” he said, adding he is looking for an independent process of some sort — possibly headed by a retired judge — to deal with the issue.

He said his client’s allegations include “repulsive and adulterous groping, propositioning and innuendo and chronic inebriation,” and that when she complained it was later dismissed so as not to “embarrass” the premier at the time. She was then reassigned and “eventually ushered out the door,” Nunziata said.

The complainant realizes that none of the alleged abuse occurred when Wynne was in charge and says the “crux of the issue is the failure” of the system to hold the MPP accountable.

The woman “ended up losing her job and she suffered mental anguish for the last 10 years,” said Nunziata, adding his client is not looking for money but for a proper, independent process to handle such issues.

Nunziata said police have not been contacted, but that and civil action are also options.

Jack Siegel, who is legal counsel to the premier and to the Liberal caucus, contacted the complainant Tuesday and said the process will be independent, but exact details have not yet been determined. Siegel will not be involved in the investigation itself.

He said he has had “a constructive conversation” with Nunziata, “and we both have to go back to our respective clients and see where it goes from here.”


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