Not a good look in Parliament at present with widespread accusations of bullying, 14 allegations of sexual assault and one of rape (5 years ago). Seems like the worst incident lies with parliamentary services and someone has been stood down as a result, but I wonder how fault much lies with MPs egos in setting the tone.
A female staffer reported a historical allegation of rape by a colleague to Parliament bosses last year.
Stuff has learned details of the incident, which happened about five years ago. The attack was also reported to the Francis Review, which this week revealed a toxic workplace with a systematic bullying problem.
Parliamentary Service have confirmed an allegation of assault was made at the time, but said the original investigation was not into allegations of rape.
Both staff members continued to work at Parliament, but neither are MPs. They worked within the same unit, which Stuff has chosen not to name.
Speaker Trevor Mallard said on Wednesday afternoon a staff member was stood down on Tuesday, following an historical allegation of assault.
He did not elaborate further.
It is understood the woman gave a statement, which she then chose to withdraw. Despite that, Parliamentary Service, which employs around 1000 people, continued with its investigation.
But that was ultimately unsuccessful.
Stuff understands the woman also spoke to independent reviewer Debbie Francis.
The accused man was never formally accused of any other sexual assaults but was "notorious" for sexist behaviour, Stuff understands.
The alleged incident had been previously investigated but, after a direct approach from the complainant to Parliamentary Service general manager Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, he reopened the investigation on Wednesday.
Gonzalez-Montero said he would not comment further on an ongoing employment investigation but, on the advice of employment lawyers, the decision was made to stand down the staff member.
Francis conducted her review under conditions of anonymity and has repeatedly refused to be drawn on details, beyond what is in her report.
She said there were 11 current staff and three former staff who reported sexual assault in an online survey completed by 1000 people. More than 100 reported unwanted touching, or sexual advances, 20 had received messages of a sexual nature and two experienced sexual coercion.
She also conducted 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."
Speaker Trevor Mallard has said he believes some of the allegations amounted to rape.
His impression from the report was that one person was involved in the three extremely serious incidents.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mallard said he did not know who it was, whether it was an MP or staff, and was unaware whether the police knew the person's identity.
Stuff revealed in April that seven parliamentary staffers complained about sexual harassment between 2015-2018.
One accused employee was sacked, and another kept their job after apologising to complainants, according to statistics provided by the Office of the Clerk and Parliamentary Service.
Parliamentary Service said there were three separate complaints of sexual harassment from four women and two men between 2015 and 2018.
"In each instance, the service conducted formal employment investigations into each of the complaints of sexual harassment," a spokesman said.
"In the first instance, the complaint was not upheld and no formal disciplinary action was taken.
"In the second instance, the complaints were upheld, the employee apologised for their behaviour to the complainants and no formal disciplinary was taken.
"In the third instance, the complaint was upheld and the employee's employment with the service ended."
Parliamentary Service provides administrative support to MPs and deals with staff, salaries and expenses. It also manages historic buildings around the Wellington precinct. The Office of the Clerk helps MPs with advice on parliamentary procedure and legislation, and runs select committees.
About 40 staff have left Parliamentary Service since Christmas, with more than a dozen claiming they resigned after being bullied.