Si­lence meant to pro­tect ac­cuser

Pre­mier speaks out on sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against MPP Jim Wil­son

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - Rob Fer­gu­son and Robert Benzie

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.


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