Ontario PC leader denies sexual misconduct allegations against him
Ontario PC leader was accused of sexual misconduct by two women on Wednesday, Jan. 24, dating back to his years as a federal MP for Barrie. Postmedia Network
Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown denied allegations of sexual misconduct brought against him by two women Wednesday night and vowed to fight to clear his name even as several members of his staff handed in their own resignations.
Brown called an impromptu press conference for late Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Queen’s Park where he addressed the allegations brought against in a short, terse statement.
“A couple of hours ago, I learned of troubling allegations about my conduct and character,” said Brown, his voice shaky as he spoke. “First, I want to say, these allegations are false. Every one of them. I will defend myself as hard as I can, with all the means at my disposal.”
The allegations by the two women were first told to CTV senior political correspondent Glen McGregor who broke the story Wednesday. The two women were around 17 or 18 at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct, one from about 10 years ago and another in about 2013 when Brown was a federal Conservative MP. Both incidents were reported to have taken place inside his home in Barrie.
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In his response Brown went on to declare it was never OK for anyone to feel like a victim of sexual harassment or feel threatened and stated everyone deserves to live in a “safe and respectful society”.
“I know the that the court of public opinion moves fast,” said Brown. “I have instructed my attorneys to ensure that these allegations are addressed where they should be: in a court of law. In short, I reject these accusations in the strongest possible terms.”
Wednesday night Brown was fighting against the allegations made by the two women, but many of his staff members with the Ontario P.C. party were not.
In a joint statement released on social media, Brown’s campaign manager Andrew Boddington, chief of staff Alykhan Velshi and deputy campaign manager (strategy) announced their resignations after Brown rejected their advice that he resign as PC leader. Nick Bergamin, PC Party press secretary also issued a statement through social media that to has quit.
“This evening I learned of allegations against Patrick Brown. As a result, it is in the best interest of the PC Party that he step down immediately,” said Bergamin. “As he has chosen to follow a different route, I am resigning as the PC Party Press Secretary.”
Brown was elected leader of the Ontario PC party in 2015 after which he resigned his federal seat. Ontario is expected to head to the polls to elect a new provincial government June 7.