An ABC journalist says NSW Labor leader Luke Foley put his hands down her underpants during a parliamentary staff Christmas party nearly two years ago.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Ashleigh Raper said she wanted to "set the record straight" about an incident involving Mr Foley at the NSW Parliament Christmas party in Sydney's CBD in 2016.
Ms Raper said Mr Foley called her on Sunday to apologise, telling her: "I'm not a philanderer, I'm not a groper, I'm just a drunk idiot".
He told her he would resign as leader of the NSW Labor Party either on Monday or Wednesday.
However, he called back on Tuesday to backtrack, saying he won't be resigning based on legal advice.
In her statement she said the incident that had been the source of widespread speculation involved Mr Foley putting his hand down the back of her dress at a bar in Martin Place following the function involving politicians, their staff and journalists at Parliament House.
"He stood next to me. He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants. He rested his hand on my buttocks. I completely froze," she said.
She said the incident was witnessed by another journalist, but she did not make a complaint for a number of reasons - including for fear of losing her job and the negative impact it would have on her family.
But the matter resurfaced in October when Liberal minister David Elliott raised it in NSW parliament.
The ABC’s first priority is and always has been the welfare of our employee, journalist Ashleigh Raper. ABC management first became aware of the matter following media enquiries in April this year. At this time ABC management spoke with Ms Raper, who made it clear she did not wish to make a formal complaint or take any action and wished the matter to remain confidential. The ABC respected her wishes but took all steps to ensure Ms Raper received complete management support.
In February 2018, Ms Raper asked to be reassigned from State Parliament to general reporting shifts for reasons unrelated to the incident and before media enquiries were received. There has been no change to the work assignments given to Ms Raper. There is absolutely no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Ms Raper and her career should not be affected in any way.
Australian Associated Press & Fairfax Media
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