Mallard sparks chaos and consternation, alleged Parliament predator stood down

Yesterday morning the Speaker Trevor Mallard sparked consternation when he said that the Francis report suggested there was a sexual predator in Parliament. There was widespread reaction in media, and behind the scenes party leaders Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges met with each other and with the Speaker. By the end of the day a staffer was stood down.

Stuff: Speaker Trevor Mallard believes bullying report alleges rapes in Parliament

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard says some allegations made to a review into bullying and harassment at Parliament amounted to rape.

Debbie Francis’ review included interviews with employees, past and present. Five reported sexual assault to her and all the allegations involved male on female violence. “Three of the alleged incidents disclosed to me in interviews were in my view extremely serious and some appeared to be part of a multi-year pattern of predatory behaviour,” she said.

Speaking to Radio NZ on Wednesday, Mallard said his impression from the report was that one person was involved in the three extremely serious incidents.

“I don’t know that this is an MP, and if it’s not an MP then it will be the Parliamentary Service, of Office of the Clerk, or Ministerial Services chief executives who will be the individuals who will take leadership.” Mallard said he hoped any one involved in such an incident would go to the police or Rape Crisis, or other support agencies.

“We’re talking about serious sexual assault. Well that, for me, that’s rape,” Mallard said.

Asked if people had been raped in Parliament, he said: “that is the impression I get from the report, yes.” The impression he had was that It happened within the past 4½ years.

“Clearly it’s an intolerable situation.”

A number of people spoke up about how intolerable they thought the situation was.

One pointed claim on social media was that if there was a suspected murder or drug pusher loose in Parliament the police would be called in immediately.

1 News: Paula Bennett calls for police to be involved ‘immediately’ over alleged rapist at Parliament

Speaking to media later this morning after the Mallard interview on Breakfast Ms Bennett said there was a “duty of care to people working in this place that police are involved immediately”.

“There are people here feeling unsafe, uncomfortable and nervous at the moment, particularly after the Speaker’s comments this morning.”

“In light of the Speaker’s comments this morning about there being alleged sexual assault and rape happening for staff members and others on premises here in Parliament…. I think there is a duty of care for Debbie Francis and the Speaker to have police involved immediately so those allegations can be followed up and the safety of people working here be put first.”

“They have a responsibility to make sure if there is someone here that has alleged criminal activity, this is not just a bit of inappropriate behaviour, the Speaker is alleging a very serious criminal act, I’m not convinced that everything is being done that should be.”

RNZ: Politicians respond to Parliament rape claims

Political party leaders held a meeting with Speaker Trevor Mallard this afternoon, following his comments to RNZ this morning that he believed there was a rapist on the premises.

After the meeting, Jacinda Ardern said she was very concerned when she heard Mr Mallard’s comments on Wednesday morning.

“We have to ensure that the people who work with us are working in a safe place,” Ms Ardern said.

“Ultimately that’s the job of the Speaker.

Labour MP and party whip Kiri Allan had said after the meeting if there were allegations of rape then police should be involved.

She said discussions were held between Labour female MPs and “there will be further action taken by our leadership”.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said if the allegations of rape were true then it was very serious.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said if the allegation of rape was substantiated then “it’s right for the appropriate action to be taken”.

The Green Party co-leader James Shaw said he couldn’t talk about the meeting with the Speaker and other party leaders but said Mr Mallard had assured them that he’d taken “immediate steps to secure the campus”.

A bizarre report: Winston Peters says alleged Parliamentary rapist is not MP, staffer

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says the alleged serial sexual offender at Parliament is not an MP or Parliamentary staffer.

“It is not a parliamentarian and it is not a parliamentary staffer – that’s number one – all the parties are clear on this matter,” Peters said on Wednesday.

“You just can’t go out and have an allegation where everybody’s now under scrutiny when none of them should have been.”

When asked what that’s based on, Peters said: “It’s based on going and finding out, because I wasn’t prepared to hear what I heard this morning.”

Peters appears to have been wrong.

By late afternoon (RNZ): Parliamentary service staffer stood down after sexual assault allegation

Speaker Trevor Mallard said a female staff member came forward following his interview with RNZ where he said he believed there was a rapist on the premises.

The woman made a complaint to the Parliamentary Service general manager and the matter is now an employment investigation.

“I don’t want to cut across any employment or possible police investigations, but I am satisfied that the Parliamentary Service has removed a threat to the safety of women working in the Parliamentary complex.

“Because the matter is now under investigation as opposed to being part of a review, it’s not appropriate into further detail,” Mr Mallard said.

Parliamentary Services said the alleged incident had been previously investigated but, after a direct approach from the complainant to the newly appointed GM of the Service, Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, he reopened the investigation today.

It said the original investigation was not into allegations of rape.

RNZ:  Speaker accepts some responsibility for chaotic way rape allegations emerged

Mr Mallard said he accepted it would have been better had the day not played out as it did.

“I have some responsibility for that, and I accept it. The main thing now is to minimise the further trauma that was caused.”

He has urged anyone who has been assaulted to go to the police or Parliamentary Service.

So a clumsy start to the day by Mallard, followed by chaos, but sort of sorted out in the end.

There was probably no tidy or easy way of dealing with this. At least what Mallard started precipitated fairly rapid action.

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Zedd

     /  23rd May 2019

    could it be.. that they are now ‘stepping back’ from this, for fear of perhaps ‘opening a larger can of worms’ ?

    hints.. rumours.. innuendo.. muddying the waters OR maybe diverting from something more serious.. allegations of ‘a negative culture’… in denial ??

    Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  23rd May 2019

    Its ok,the rapist has left the house

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  23rd May 2019

      An “employment investigation” has been re-opened. Everything else reported seems to be people putting various statements together & coming to a conclusion that may not even be correct.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  23rd May 2019

        Either it was rape or it wasn’t.

        There is a huge difference between a grope and someone who’s all over you (revolting and distressing as these are) and actual rape, as any rape victim can testify.

        Reply
  3. Duker

     /  23rd May 2019

    Bennett says the police should be involved immediately.
    No . Thats not how it works for historic cases . Unless the person assaulted wants to contact police, they have nothing to go on.
    Im concerned that Parliamentary services seems to have said the original complaint wasnt a ‘sexual one’. Im pretty sure that was their way of brushing it under the carpet at the time .

    Would be interesting to ask if Bennett ‘involved the police immediately’ when some of the allegations about Ross ‘came to her ears’

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd May 2019

      He didn’t rape anyone and adultery is not a crime.

      But even if he had assaulted or raped someone, a third party can’t make a complaint as far as I know.

      Reply
  4. duperez

     /  23rd May 2019

    Imagine the chaos and consternation if a report come out that suggested there was a sexual predator in Parliament and Mallard did nothing about it.

    Imagine the chaos and consternation if Mallard had concerns about behaviour in Parliament ‘behind the scenes,’ had the chance to commission an enquiry and did nothing and then it eventuated there was a sexual predator in Parliament.

    I didn’t hear or see Mallard interviews. I suppose they asked him about the Francis report and what he thought about it. Mallard said ‘his impression’ from the report was that one person was involved in three extremely serious incidents “We’re talking about serious sexual assault. Well that, for me, that’s rape,” Mallard said.

    Asked if people had been raped in Parliament, he said: “that is the impression I get from the report, yes.”

    We’re in a time of praise for those like Trump who ‘tell it like it is’ (in their opinion) or tell us of how they see things. We’re in a time of condemnation when politicians pussyfoot around, beat round the bush and aren’t forthcoming.

    Maybe Mallard should have told interviewers, “There’s the report, gain your own impressions, I have mine which I’m not sharing.”

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd May 2019

      I was once jumped on by my ex-partner’s uncle. He was a young uncle, but still an uncle as far as I was concerned, and I had no hesitation in inviting him into my flat. His marriage had just broken up and he was drunk, as I soon discovered.

      He then tried to force me to have sex, which was an appalling betrayal and shock. I was a smoker then and managed to persuade him to stop by saying that if he didn’t take his hands away I would bring the end of my cigarette down on one. I had to hold it quite close before he realised that I meant it, and after a lot of abuse about how it was my fault for asking him in etc etc he went away.

      It was totally out of character and I had a humiliated phone call next morning (I hung up and cut him dead whenever I saw him after that)

      But ghastly as it was, it wasn’t rape and I wouldn’t presume to call it that.

      Trevor Mallard has unwittingly made it sound as if a serial rapist was in the Beehive.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  23rd May 2019

        Did Debbie Francis make it sound as if a serial rapist was in the Beehive? Did the people who spoke confidentially to her make it sound as if a serial rapist was in the Beehive?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  23rd May 2019

          Well, certainly TM made it sound as if a repeat offender was there. He said that to him what happened was rape. What we don’t know is what he counts as rape.

          I should have said repeat rather than serial.

          Reply

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