TORONTO – The former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, who stepped down from his position late last month amid allegations of sexual misconduct, said Sunday he can disprove the accusations.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Patrick Brown wrote that he has been investigating the allegations reported by CTV News. He said specific details of the accusations from two unnamed women, which date back to when he was a federal MP, contain discrepancies that prove the accounts are false. Brown also alleged that both his accusers know CTV reporters socially, and the broadcaster left out a contradicting account from a witness.
“I will clear my name,” Brown wrote in a post that had been shared more than 2,000 times as of Sunday afternoon. “THIS STORY IS FALSE.”The post echoed an interview Brown gave last week to the Postmedia news agency, which was published in the Toronto Sun and several other outlets, in which he proclaimed his innocence and said he was considering legal action.
Following Brown’s social media statement, CTV defended its reporting.
“CTV is aware of the claims made in Patrick Brown’s Facebook post (Sunday) and those reportedly made in his interview with the Toronto Sun. CTV News stands by its story,” Matthew Garrow, communications director for the broadcaster, wrote in a statement.
Brown, whose resignation came just months before a spring election, wrote on Facebook that he will continue to fight for his family and his constituents, as well as his name and reputation.
“The #metoo movement is important. I support it. I embrace it. My drive to public service includes creating a safer and more respectful world for women. The #metoo movement is too important to allow outrageous allegations like these to derail it,” he wrote.
The allegations reported by CTV have not been verified by The Canadian Press.
The broadcaster reported on Jan. 24 that one of the women, who is now 29, said she was still in high school when Brown allegedly asked her to perform oral sex on him.
CTV reported the alleged incident happened in Brown’s bedroom with the door closed, but Brown said in his Facebook post that at the time of the alleged incident, he lived in an open concept apartment and the bedroom didn’t have a door.
CTV also reported the second accuser was a university student working in Brown’s constituency office when he allegedly sexually assaulted her at his home after an event she helped organize.
Brown alleged in his post that the accuser actually tried to kiss him that night, while the woman he was seeing romantically was in another room.
“I stopped her immediately and offered to drive her home, which I did,” he wrote. “There are at least three witnesses, one of whom even spoke to CTV, that refute the details of her allegations.”
He said CTV left that witness’s account out of their report.
Brown stepped down in late January, just hours after an emotional late-night news conference in which he vowed to fight the allegations.
A few days later, he was asked to take a leave of absence from the PC caucus, and interim leader Vic Fedeli said he would not sign Brown’s nomination papers if the allegations still stood at campaign time.
A spokesman for the PCs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brown’s Facebook post Sunday afternoon.
Brown’s resignation caused the PCs to launch a hastily planned leadership contest ahead of the June election.
Votes will be placed online in early March, with the results announced on March 10.
So far, three high-profile candidates – former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, former Ontario lawmaker Christine Elliott and Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney – have entered the race.
Elliott has said that if Brown can clear his name, he should be allowed to run for the party in the coming election.