Brampton’s integrity commissioner is recommending that a councillor be suspended without pay for 90 days amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
A report from the commissioner says a complainant has come forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Ward 9 and 10 Coun. Gurpreet Dhillon.
The report says the alleged incident occurred while Dhillon was on a trade mission to Turkey in November 2019.
The complainant, who is a business owner in Brampton, alleges the incident occurred while Dhillon was in her hotel room. She provided an audio recording, notes, and text messages — among other documents — to support her claims, the report says.
“Misconduct of this nature (sexual harassment) warrants the highest level of discipline,” the report reads.
The watchdog recommends that Dhillon receive the most severe penalty possible under their jurisdiction — suspension without pay for 90 days.
“I wish to state that I am displeased that there is no avenue (at least insofar as it relates to my mandate and jurisdiction) that allows for Councillor Dhillon’s immediate removal from city council,” the commissioner said.
The report also recommends that council take further action in response to the allegations as “deemed appropriate,” including Dhillon’s removal from committees, a ban on Dhillon’s ability to travel outside of Ontario on city business, and restrictions on his ability to use municipal offices.
The commissioner’s recommendations are set to be considered at a council meeting on Wednesday.
Dhillon, meanwhile, denies all allegations against him.
“The investigation was flawed from the start and this report is riddled with inconsistencies,” he said in a statement.
“Despite my repeated requests, the integrity commissioner refused to disclose the purported evidence against me. This refusal calls into question the integrity of this entire investigation. The total lack of due process in this investigation undermines the rule of law.”
Dhillon said he will be taking legal action in response to the report and is calling on council to review the integrity commissioner’s investigation process.
“I hold myself accountable to the people of Brampton. The allegations against me are wholly inconsistent with who I am and my six-year track record as a public servant,” he said.
Meanwhile, the report says the complainant has spoken with different police forces regarding the allegations.
A spokesperson for Peel Regional Police told Global News their officers interviewed the alleged victim in November 2019, but it was determined that the force does not have authority to lay charges given that the reported incident occurred in Turkey.
“After she attended 21 division to report the sexual assault, investigators began to correspond with the RCMP in Istanbul and the RCMP affiliated with Interpol,” the spokesperson said.
“Our investigators made every effort to assist by forwarding all the information we had.”