Silence meant to protect accuser
Premier speaks out on sexual misconduct allegations against MPP Jim Wilson
Doug Ford is accused of protecting Jim Wilson over Wilson’s accuser by the NDP. TRENTON, Ont.—premier Doug Ford says he did not reveal former cabinet minister Jim Wilson abruptly resigned Friday over sexual misconduct allegations to protect the privacy of the accuser.
Denying NDP charges there was a “cover up” of the true reason for the dramatic departure, Ford said Wednesday he personally approved a press release stating the veteran legislator was leaving only to seek treatment for alcohol addiction.
“When we sat down with the person that gave the allegations, they repeatedly asked us not to make this a media story,” the premier told reporters in his first public comments since the scandal began unfolding at 6 p.m. Friday.
“It takes courage to come forward to put truth to power and I commend them,” Ford added, speaking of Wilson’s accuser and others who made sexual misconduct allegations about Andrew Kimber, the premier’s former executive director of issues management and legislative affairs, who also left the government suddenly Friday.
“They’re a priority … with all due respect to the media, they trump the media.”
Ford said an independent firm, which he would not name, was hired “immediately” Friday to conduct investigations of the allegations against Wilson and Kimber. Investigators have begun interviewing people.
He added the accusers are free to “go to the police if they wanted to. They haven’t as of yet. They don’t want to.”
The departure of Kimber was not mentioned in the Wilson press release, which also stated the minister had gone a step further from resigning his portfolio to quit the Progressive Conservative caucus. Wilson will sit as an independent. That was a red flag for reporters and political insiders suggesting there was more to his exit than drinking.