MP just ‘jovial’

Em­bat­tled Scott An­drews won’t ad­mit or deny sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions; says he’s learned how his ‘jovial New­found­land friend­li­ness’ can be per­ceived

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - FRONT PAGE - BY LOUIS POWER

Re­spond­ing to a string of yes-or-no ques­tions from the me­dia Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Scott An­drews seemed to be avoid­ing the words “yes” and “no.”

The Avalon MP in­vited the me­dia to his Con­cep­tion Bay South con­stituency of­fice to ad­dress the buzz over the com­ple- tion of an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sex­ual-mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against him and for­mer Lib­eral MP Mas­simo Pacetti. Based on that re­port, An­drews has been ban­ished from the fed­eral Lib­eral cau­cus.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, An­drews is ac­cused of fol­low­ing an NDP MP home, forcibly en­ter­ing her apart­ment, grop­ing her and grind­ing his pelvis on her, leav­ing when she told him to and ver­bally ha­rass­ing her later, call­ing her a “c*ck­teaser.”

In his open­ing re­marks to me­dia Thurs­day, An­drews said he fully ac­cepts the con­tent of the ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was con­ducted by hu­man rights lawyer Cyn­thia Petersen.

He didn’t deny the al­le­ga­tions, nor did he ad­mit to any- thing.

“I have learned a lot about my­self in the past few months, par­tic­u­larly how my jovial New­found­land friend­li­ness can be per­ceived,” he said.

“I’ve learned a great deal on the im­por­tance of per­sonal space, di­ver­sity and the un­der­stand­ing of feel­ings of oth­ers,” he said.

When the floor opened for ques­tions, many of his an­swers were vague.

Is he go­ing to run in the next elec­tion?

“We’ll cross that bridge in the com­ing weeks, months ahead.”

Does he feel he did any­thing wrong?

“I feel con­fi­den­tial­ity is so im­por­tant, and I’m not go­ing to make com­ment on that.” Did he do it? “I’ve wit­nessed the worst side of pol­i­tics in the last 24 hours, in the last six months. And I’ve learned that I don’t have it in me to be mean-spir­ited, so I don’t, I’m not go­ing to re­spond to any of that, be­cause I don’t want to be mean-spir­ited and get into the de­tails.”

Does he feel he was treated fairly?

“The process has been very frus­trat­ing. I’ve said that, and it’s been trou­ble­some to me. But I’m not a mean-spir­ited per­son and this is not in­tend­ing to be a witch hunt.”

Did he do some­thing that may have been mis­con­strued as be­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate?

“My friends, fam­ily and the peo­ple who know me will de­cide on if I’m in­no­cent or not.”

An­drews, who re­ceived a copy of the ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary Thurs­day, said he’d have no is­sue with the find­ings be­ing made public — although he said it’s not his place to di­vulge what is in it. He re­peat­edly spoke of the im­por­tance of con­fi­den­tial­ity.

He said the events of re­cent months have taken a toll on his fam­ily, and he just wants it to be over.

“It has been very dif­fi­cult. My wife has been be­side me through­out this process — many sleep­less nights, many early morn­ings, many dis­cus­sions, many sce­nar­ios have gone through our process think­ing. But at one point you come to peace with what you have to say, and who you’re go­ing to say it to, and we have.”

An­drews, who has been sit­ting as an in­de­pen­dent MP since be­ing suspended from the Lib­eral cau­cus last fall over the al­le­ga­tions, said he has no plans to try to re­join the Lib­eral cau­cus. For now, he plans to con­tinue work­ing as an in­de­pen­dent, and what his fu­ture holds is a de­ci­sion his fam­ily will come to to­gether, he said.

Fed­eral Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau is­sued a state­ment Thurs­day ac­knowl­edg­ing the re­ceipt of the ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary.

“I ac­cept the de­ci­sions of Mr. Mas­simo Pacetti and Mr. Scott An­drews to sit as In­de­pen­dent Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and to not seek the Lib­eral nom­i­na­tions in their re­spec­tive rid­ings. As such, I con­sider this mat­ter closed,” he said.

KEITH GOSSE/THE TELE­GRAM

For­mer Avalon Lib­eral MP Scott An­drews leaves a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day where he spoke to re­porters about sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against him.

KEITH GOSSE/THE TELE­GRAM

For­mer Lib­eral MP Scott An­drews speaks to re­porters Thurs­day.

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