Liberals Call on Toronto Candidate to “Stop” Campaign Amid News of Past Sexual Assault Charges Dropped | The Canadian News

The federal party has asked a liberal candidate in downtown Toronto to “pause” his election campaign while officials review the circumstances surrounding the Crown’s decision to drop a sexual assault charge in 2019.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was pressured by reporters on the matter Friday morning after news emerged that Spadina-Fort York candidate Kevin Vuong was charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault on April 8, 2019.

“This is a situation that we are taking very seriously and that we are analyzing,” he said while campaigning in Windsor, Ontario, when asked how the party was not aware of the incident and why Vuong was not expelled from the party.

“We have questions about that, we have questions about what exactly happened, we are investigating that very quickly and in the meantime we have asked the candidate to stop his campaign.”

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READ MORE: The Canadian military has received more than 700 reports of sexual assault since 2016, data shows

Trudeau told reporters that party officials were not aware of the dropped charge until Thursday when they were contacted by The Toronto Star, which was the first news outlet to report the incident.

In a story posted Thursday night, the outlet reported speaking with the woman cited in court documents who said she did not know Vuong was running in the election. She told the newspaper that she recently returned from a trip and saw her photo on election posters while riding.

The woman told Star that she and Vuong went on multiple dates after meeting on an app in 2019 and reportedly went to their home on April 8 where they watched a movie before going to bed and falling asleep. She told the outlet that she woke up to Vuong touching her, causing confusion.

The story goes that he went to a bathroom and closed the door, and then called a friend for help. That friend, who allegedly showed screenshots of text messages from that night, asked Vuong to leave the apartment, which he did without further incident.

As of Friday afternoon, Global News was unable to reach the woman to independently verify the allegations contained in Star’s report.

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TIMELINE: The Canadian Forces Sexual Misconduct Crisis

Global News contacted Vuong and his representatives multiple times to comment on this story Thursday night and Friday morning, but no response was received at the time of publication.

However, the Star reported receiving a statement from Vuong in which he “unequivocally states (d) that these allegations are false” and that he “vigorously fought” the matter in court. The case was dropped in late November 2019. It was also reported that he did not address the allegations in that statement.

Citing court transcripts, the newspaper quoted Crown Prosecutor Louise Collins, who said that the plaintiff “had a number of personal problems going on at this time” and that after the case was reviewed again, it was “decided that it would not be in the public interest to proceed further. “

The woman told the Star that she “did not have the energy” to go through a trial after going through court proceedings as a child after a sexual assault, and asked Vuong to seek counseling or therapy. He added that he was unaware that the charges against Vuong were dropped.

Read more:

Liberal MP Raj Saini Leaves Re-election Campaign Following Misconduct Allegations

Vuong, who describes himself as a businessman, lecturer and naval reservist, previously mounted a botched bid for Toronto city council in 2018. He was nominated to run for the Liberals after Adam Vaughan announced that he was not seeking reelection. .

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Throughout the election campaign, Liberals have faced questions about alleged sexual misconduct, such as that of former party candidate Raj Saini at the Kitchener Center. The deputy ended his re-election campaign after there were allegations that he harassed a former staff member, something Saini previously called “defamatory” and “false.”

During a campaign stop in Sherbrooke, Que., NDP leader Jagmeet Singh began his comments by addressing the allegations involving Vuong before calling for more action to protect women and survivors of sexual assault.

“It is so painful when we see a pattern of behavior with the Liberal Party, that they do not have the courage to confront men in positions of power, that they allow candidates to stand and not act,” he said. referring to cases of sexual assault and misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“There is a question Canadians want to know: Either this candidate in Toronto lied to the Liberal Party and the Liberal Party agrees with that or the Liberal Party knew it all along and Mr. Trudeau agrees with that. Either way, it’s horrible. “

More to come.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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