Ottawa, July 7 (IANS) The woman who accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 18 years ago of groping her says she stands by her account.
She released a statement on Friday to CBC News, her first public comment on the allegations that resurfaced over a month ago.
She said the incident, described in August 2000 in an editorial in a newspaper “did occur, as reported”, BBC reported.
Trudeau has denied any wrongdoing, saying he is confident he did “not act inappropriately”.
The woman was a journalist at the time and covering an event attended by Trudeau.
The editorial and its allegations resurfaced after a blogger posted an image of the article on Twitter in June.
The event in Creston, British Columbia, was held to raise money for an avalanche safety charity with which Trudeau was involved.
Days afterwards, an unsigned editorial appeared in a local paper, accusing him of “groping” a young female reporter.
Trudeau first responded to the nearly 20-year-old incident on 1 July when questioned by journalists.
The Prime Minister said he did not recall any “negative interactions” at the event, though he said he remembered the day in Creston well.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister offered a more detailed response.
“I have been reflecting very carefully on what I remember,” he said. “I feel I am confident I did not act inappropriately.”
Trudeau said if he apologised at the time it was because he must have sensed the woman in question felt differently about their interaction.
“The same interactions can be experienced very differently from one person to the next,” he said.
Published in the Creston Valley Advance newspaper, the piece accused Trudeau of “inappropriately handling” the reporter, who felt “blatantly disrespected” by the actions, which were not described.
According to the editorial, Mr Trudeau apologised for his behaviour and said: “If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”
Trudeau was a 28-year-old teacher at the time of the event. He became involved with the charity Avalanche Foundation after his brother Michel died in an avalanche in 1998.
In her statement, the woman – who has not been named – confirmed Trudeau did issue an apology to her on the day after the festival, as was published in the editorial.
“I did not pursue the incident at the time and will not be pursuing the incident further,” she said.
“Beyond this statement, I will not be providing any further details or information. The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement.”