Meredith won’t address former aide’s allegations: lawyer

Former female aide alleging senator repeatedly groped her behind closed doors

TORONTO — A lawyer for Don Meredith said on Monday the senator will not address sexual-harassment allegations contained in a published news report.

The weekend article by HuffPost Canada cited a former female aide alleging the senator repeatedly groped her behind closed doors.

The woman, who was not named, also alleged Meredith threatened to wreck her employment prospects if she complained to anyone about him.

Meredith’s lawyer, Bill Trudell, said the senator would not respond to the accusations.

“He co-operated long ago with the Senate investigation into these allegations,” he said.

Trudell also questioned the timing of the report given that a senate committee is set to wrap up an investigation into the politician.

“The timing of this story is suspect given it is clear that the Senate committee is about to report,” Trudell said in an interview.

HuffPost managing editor Andree Lau said the publication has been gathering information on the story for the past three years.

“The claims of inappropriate workplace behaviour allegedly committed by a Canadian senator is an important story, which we pursued out of the public interest,” Lau said in an email. ”Sen. Meredith and his lawyer declined opportunities to be interviewed.”

Meredith could find out within days what punishment the Senate ethics committee will be recommending for his unrelated sexual relationship with a teenage girl. The committee has been pondering a range of sanctions from reprimand to outright expulsion.

The committee was aiming to finalize its recommendations by Tuesday, and then table them in the upper chamber, committee chairwoman Raynell Andreychuk said last week.

Once the committee makes its recommendations, it will be up to the Senate to decide on what, if any, action to take against Meredith.

The senator, 52, has spoken publicly only once since the Senate’s ethics officer, Lyse Ricard, issued a disturbing report earlier this year on his affair with the teen.

Ricard concluded that the married senator, a Pentecostal minister, had begun a relationship with the girl when she was just 16 and that it later became sexual. The report also found that Meredith had abused his position as a senator to take advantage of the young woman.

In a March interview with The Canadian Press, Meredith begged forgiveness for what he called his “moral failing” but rejected widespread calls to resign. He refused to discuss whether he’d had any other affairs.

Meredith, who is black, also blamed racism for the allegations against him, although Trudell later dialled back that assertion saying race had no bearing on the scandal.

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