Patrick Brown says he is the victim of a ‘fabricated political assassination’
WARNING: This story contains sexually explicit language, discretion is advised.
Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown says he has proof the sexual misconduct accusations against him – that he plied two women with drinks before advancing on them – are false.
And now one of his accusers has changed part of her story.
“It’s been horrific. It’s like getting hit by a car. You’re in shock,” Brown said in his first televised interview since CTV revealed the explosive allegations that forced him to resign as leader of the Ontario PC Party. “I can’t tell you how difficult the emotional toll has been on myself, on my family, on my friends, to be maligned on national television by absolute lies.”
In an hour-long interview, Brown explains the allegations from two anonymous women are “absolute lies,” and lays out, what he says, is evidence that will vindicate him.
“I was devastated and it took about a week for me to get my strength back and want to fight to clear my name,” Brown told Global News.
On Jan. 24, Brown was leader of the Ontario PC Party. Recent polling put his party well ahead of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and the NDP. The PCs were winning by-elections, too; Sault Ste. Marie voted Conservative for the first time since 1981.
And with a June provincial election around the corner, the 39-year-old from Barrie, Ont., was on course to become one of the province’s youngest premiers.
Twenty-four hours later, his political future abruptly changed.
A CTV News report detailed allegations of sexual misconduct brought forward by two women. One originally alleged that when she was a high school student, Brown gave her alcohol and asked her to perform oral sex.
Late Tuesday night, CTV reported she changed her recollection of the timeline. Now, she says, she had already graduated from high school and was 19 at the time of the alleged incident.
“She now says that she was of legal drinking age and out of high school,” the CTV News report said.
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The second allegation claimed Brown lured a university student who was working for him into his bedroom during a party and attempted to have sex with her.
All parties stand by their stories. The women and CTV say the incidents happened. Brown insists they didn’t.
“The way this was done, it was a hatchet job. It was frontier justice,” he told Global News.
It was then, Brown said, he realized the “massive fabrication that it was” and noticed “the massive lies that were included.”
During the interview, Brown told Global News he was given less than five hours to respond to a list of detailed allegations that did not contain full names or time frames. CTV says Brown “did not respond to our request for comment, nor did he request a deadline extension for his response.”
“However he did call a pre-emptive news conference prior to our story airing,” CTV said in a statement. “We understand Mr. Brown’s advisors knew for a number of days we had been working on a story prior to us reaching out to Mr. Brown for comment.”
The former PC leader is now trying to clear his name to convince people these allegations are false.
WATCH: Patrick Brown says incident never happened
The First Allegation
The first incident, according to the CTV report, happened more than 10 years ago, when a woman said she and a mutual friend met Brown at a bar. Brown invited them back to his home and gave them alcohol, according to the report (which has since changed).
She was drunk when Brown invited her for a tour of his home, she told CTV.
“He pulled down his pants and said, and I don’t know if he said ‘suck my dick’ or ‘put this in your mouth,’ but something along those lines,” the woman, now 29, told CTV.
But Brown said details of her story make it “factually impossible.” Brown said he lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in Barrie when the woman was in high school, as she originally stated. The house was two storeys but he said his apartment was limited to one floor. The upper unit was rented out and his bedroom did not have a door, he said.
“The second floor was a rental unit. You couldn’t even connect to the second floor from the area that I was living,” Brown told Global News.
WATCH: Patrick Brown slams news story of alleged sexual misconduct
A Barrie real estate agent, who spoke with Global News on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Brown lived in a tiny bachelor apartment at the time.
“There’s no door to the bedroom,” the real estate agent said. “I might have actually had him put one on so that I could sell the place.”
In CTV’s updated story published Tuesday night, the accuser said the incident happened at a different home, the same one where the second allegation took place, a home which Brown moved into in July 2007. That home did have two storeys.
While Brown says these inconsistencies prove the allegation is false, experts on sexual assault say discrepancies don’t make allegations untrue.
Farrah Khan, the manager of the office of sexual violence, support and education at Ryerson University, said survivors of sexual assault experience trauma which can affect memory and details of an event.
“They have the information inside them, but they may not understand it from a linear place, and they may not have the exact details because when you’re sexually assaulted, you’re not quickly thinking in your head, ‘Okay, I have to remember what the door looked like, what shirt he was wearing, where I was going,’ because you didn’t plan for this assault to happen,” Khan said.
“Oftentimes you’re shocked. You’re in a place of fear and paralysation, so we have to remember that trauma affects memory.”
Global News reached out to the first accuser for an interview. She said in a statement that she stands “firmly behind the truth of what I said about Patrick Brown’s conduct involving me.”
“Collateral details from an incident many years ago are not important. I will not engage in any more public discussion around details of how I was victimized, beyond what I have already disclosed,” she said in the statement. “The reason I will not engage in any more public discussion is that going public with this incident has exposed me to abuse on social media that no human being deserves.”
The Second Allegation
The second allegation stems from an incident in August 2013 following Hockey Night in Barrie, a charity event Brown organized to raise money for a local hospital.
The second accuser, a university student who was working for Brown, told CTV she helped organize the event and went to an after-party at a nearby nightclub called the Bank.
While at the bar, she said, Brown and others provided her with drinks. Brown, who was an MP at the time, said he does not drink and does not buy girls drinks. The former bar manager of the Bank, Jim Garland, said he never saw Brown buy drinks for women.
The party then moved to Brown’s house.
According to the report, Brown invited her and a male friend upstairs to his bedroom to look at photographs of his trip to Asia on his iPad. The friend allegedly departed shortly thereafter, leaving her and Brown alone.
“The next thing I know he’s kissing me,” she told CTV.
“Sitting beside me, kissing me and then I was, I kind of just froze up. He continued to kiss me and he laid me down on the bed and got on top of me. I remember consciously trying not to move my mouth and I was just not moving, so I was laying there immobile and he kept kissing me.”
WATCH: PC leader Patrick Brown resigns amid allegations of sexual misconduct
The friend of Brown’s who says he was at the party in August 2013 told Global News he didn’t go upstairs with the accuser.
“That didn’t happen,” he said. “I did not go into a room with Patrick and a girl to look at photos on an iPad.”
Brown denies the woman’s allegation and said she “tried to kiss” him.
“I drove her home immediately,” he said. “The girl I was seeing at the time can attest to this.”
Mikaela Patterson, who said she was dating Brown at the time, was at the Barrie event and went to the Bank and then back to Brown’s house with others.
“I remember her being around Patrick. She seemed to be clinging to him, following him around the house which annoyed me at the time,” she told Global News. “It seemed like she liked him. Was obviously interested in him somehow.”
The Bank shuttered in 2015 and a sports bar named Hooligans opened in its place. A co-owner of Hooligans told Global News Brown is a silent minority owner in the restaurant.
Patterson said she doesn’t remember Brown telling her the accuser kissed him, but does refute the allegation that two people went upstairs to view pictures with Brown.
“I remember Patrick going upstairs and I vaguely remember her following him shortly after. And then he came down and came over to me and said I’m driving her home,” she said.
“They weren’t upstairs for very long,” she said. “No one seemed overly intoxicated or distressed or anything that evening.”
To Brown, nothing changed after that night. He said the woman continued to work for him and even volunteered on his leadership campaign, liked photos on Facebook, and showed up at an Ottawa event in support of him 15 months ago.
“This is an absolute fabrication. I don’t know who put her up to this,” Brown said. “I don’t know why she’s made this absolute lie, but if I caused her any harm, if I caused her any harm, there’s one iota that she thinks that, she can call the Barrie Police.”
WATCH: Patrick Brown slams news story of alleged sexual misconduct
Constance Backhouse, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and research chair on sexual assault legislation in Canada, said faulty memories can be damaging to a witness’s credibility in law, but it is more complex.
“The legal system has begun to recognize that incorrect memories, or loss of memory with respect to small details are not fatal to a case,” Backhouse said in an email.
“The thinking is that all of us are mistaken – often – on small details. The key is whether the witness testimony is credible with respect to the bigger picture.”
Khan said there are many challenges for complainants when they come forward, either being harassed online, experiencing feelings of guilt, or being blamed or shamed for not acting in a certain way.
“In the cases of political sexual violence, when it happens in political parties, or when someone is working for the party, the fear would be that you’re turning against the party that you are fighting for, that you want to win, and you can lose a whole community that you’ve been working with for a very long time,” she said.
The CTV reporting
Since CTV exposed the allegations, Brown has questioned the news organization’s reporting and whether the outlet failed to disclose that one of the women accusing Brown of sexual misconduct and Rachel Aiello, one of the CTV journalists who reported on the story, worked together at the Hill Times, shared at least one journalistic byline and were seen at events together.
“They were colleagues and co-workers, but I don’t know if they were or are real ‘friends,’ said Hill Times editor Kate Malloy.
In a statement, CTV said that because one of the women “had worked on Parliament Hill, CTV News took steps before publication and broadcast to ensure that there was no previous contact with any of our journalists that would influence our reporting of this story.”
The network added it is “important to note” that Glen McGregor, not Aiello, “led the interview.”
“As is standard journalistic practice, CTV News took every step to ensure there was no conflict of interest,” the news organization said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the allegations against Brown has shaken Ontario’s political landscape with an election four months away and a PC leadership vote scheduled for March.
Christine Elliott, Doug Ford, and Caroline Mulroney are the frontrunners and are expected to take part in a PC leadership debate Thursday. Elliott has said that if Brown is able to clear his name he should also be allowed to run for the party in the next election.
Brown says he will continue to fight to clear his name and said he is considering legal action.
“This isn’t right to have someone assassinated on fabricated stories,” he said. “If this stands, that’s not good for our democracy. That’s not good for Canada. It’s not who we are in this country and I’m going to fight to expose it.”
READ FULL STATEMENT FROM BROWN ACCUSER
“I stand firmly by the truth of what I said about Patrick Brown’s conduct involving me. Collateral details from an incident many years ago are not important.
I will not engage in any more public discussion around details of how I was victimized, beyond what I have already disclosed.
The reason I will not engage in any more public discussion is that going public with this incident has exposed me to abuse on social media that no human being deserves.
The comments made about me on social media were demeaning, victim-blaming and woman-hating. My privacy was invaded, my character was assassinated, and I was subjected to gratuitous slurs about my private life and relationships.
The comments that I have been subjected to ignore altogether the abuse of power by an older sober man over a young intoxicated woman. The comments construct a false, discriminatory and cruel misrepresentation of the truly debilitating stress that women who are subjected to sexualized abuse of power often have to endure.
I made my experience public because I wanted to help other women feel safe in coming forward themselves. I sought nothing for myself by disclosing, nor will I. In return I have experienced cruel, uninformed backlash. This demonstrates that if we are to attain true gender equality, we still have a long way to go. As a Canadian I am saddened by what I have learned.
There are many, many people who stand behind me, and I want to say thank you to them. This whole ordeal has been and continues to be tremendously difficult and painful for me. It is now time for me to focus on moving forward, surrounded by and interacting with only those who truly care for me.”
-With additional reporting Leslie Whyte and David Lao
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.