Former Senator Don Meredith charged with sexual assault and criminal harassment

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The former Senator Don Meredith charged with sexual assault and criminal harassment

Former Conservative Senator Don Meredith has been released on a promise to appear in court (file).

On Saturday morning, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) issued three counts of sexual assault and one count of criminal harassment against former Conservative Senator Don Meredith following a ;an investigation into allegations of sexual assault.

The Toronto native had resigned from his post in 2017 after violating the code of ethics of the Upper bedroom while having an intimate relationship with a teenage girl.

The Pentecostal minister was named a senator in 2010 by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He served from December 2010 until his resignation in May 2017.

Charges brought by the OPS Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section relate to alleged incidents in 2013 and 2014 reported to authorities by an adult woman.

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The investigation was triggered in 2015 after an 18-year-old woman told the Toronto Starthat she had had sex with Senator Meredith when she was 16.

The 50-year-old was released on Saturday on a promise to appear in court. According to the OPS, a defendant must be in Ottawa to be released on these conditions.

The OPS has expressed concern that the former senator has suffered other victims and invites any person with information to contact the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit.

Since the former senator had submitted his resignation before facing an expulsion vote, he is still receiving his pension, confirms the Treasury Board.

In 2020, the Senate also paid a total of $498,000 in compensation to nine former employees of Don Meredith who claimed to have been victims of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment.

The behaviors reported include the belittling, denigration and humiliation of staff members, as well as kissing, touching and intimidation. At the time, the Senate Ethics Officer described this environment as a “poisoned work environment”.

According to the Report of the Independent Evaluator to the Standing Senate Committee on Governance office, budgets and administration, consulted by Radio-Canada, the sexual harassment suffered by four of the claimants took the following non-consensual forms: repeated explicit requests, personal telephone calls at home, fondling, kissing and caressing (or attempting to) and in the worst case, caressing under the Claimant's skirt and exhibiting her genitals in front of the Claimant.

According to the document, Mr. Meredith was punishing Claimants who refused to respond to his sexual advances by scolding, belittling or ignoring them in front of their colleagues.

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