Australian attorney general denies rape allegation
Australia’s attorney general on Wednesday outed himself as the unnamed cabinet minister accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, denying the decades-old allegation and trying to draw a line under a crisis that has consumed the country’s conservative government.
After a week of speculation that has dominated Australian politics, 50-year-old Christian Porter — the government’s top lawyer and a former prosecutor — tearfully denied wrongdoing, saying “the allegations never happened.”
Porter insisted he would not step down, but he would take leave to deal with the mental strain caused by the allegations.
“I’ve discussed with the prime minister today that after speaking with my own doctor I’m going to take a short period of leave to assess and hopefully improve my own mental health.”
Porter was forced to come forward after senior lawmakers last week received details of allegations that in 1988 Porter raped a then 16-year-old girl who committed suicide last year before making a formal complaint to police.
Although Porter’s identity as the accused was widely known, Australia’s defamation rules had prevented media from naming him.
The Western Australia representative insisted he was the victim of a “whispering campaign” and “frenzied politicisation” driven by the media.
“For the many caring family and friends who have asked me that question over the course of the last week, “Are you OK?” I have got to say… ‘I really don’t know’,” he said, breaking down.
Porter appeared in front of the cameras a day after police said they found “insufficient admissible evidence to proceed” with a prosecution in the case.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had insisted the allegations were a matter for police.
Morrison’s government has been rocked by a series of sexual assault scandals, including harrowing allegations that a young staffer was raped by a colleague in the parliamentary office of the now-minister of defence Linda Reynolds…..read more