Mayor Sexual Misconduct Claims Aired In Council Meeting
One of the women accusing former Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle of sexual misconduct says she feels "disempowered" by delays in a probe into the claims.
City of Melbourne Councillor Cathy Oke became emotional while speaking about her and former colleague Tessa Sullivan's claims against Mr Doyle at a highly-charged council meeting on Tuesday night.
"Whilst noting my deep frustration that without a conclusion I continue to feel disempowered to speak, nor have the ability to speak up for a colleague who was very brave ... I do remain very supportive of the investigation," an emotional Cr Oke said at Melbourne's Town Hall.
She labelled Ms Sullivan "very brave" for coming forward with the sexual harassment and indecent assault allegations late last year, but was upset her colleague felt she had to resign afterwards.
"Victims certainly should not see that the only option for them is to resign to seek justice," Cr Oke said.
An independent investigation by Ian Freckelton QC into the claims has been slowed by Mr Doyle's recent resignation and hospitalisation for stress-related conditions.
Mr Doyle quit on Sunday from hospital but continued to strenuously deny the allegations.
The City of Melbourne hasn't decided whether to make the draft report handed to the former mayor public.
At Tuesday's meeting, Cr Oke said she was "acutely aware of the considerable mental and physical stress that key people are experiencing".
"So whilst frustrated, I understand why there's been a delay in the proceedings," she said.
Mr Doyle earlier told investigators he put his hand on Cr Oke's thigh under a table at a 2014 work dinner but his motivations were not sexual, The Australian reported.
Instead, Mr Doyle said he intended to point out to Cr Oke the person at the table he preferred for the job of council chief executive.
In a statement, the former mayor's lawyer Nick Ruskin said his client felt "he has lacked any semblance of natural justice".
Mr Doyle's wife Emma Page Campbell said her husband was a "good and decent man" who was hospitalised "on the brink of being broken".
The former mayor is facing another independent probe following allegations by a third woman he touched her leg and made inappropriate comments at a 2016 Melbourne Health awards ceremony.
Mr Doyle quit as chairman of Melbourne Health on Sunday night.