MNA Sklavounos will not be charged
Published Thursday, February 2, 2017 10:41AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 2, 2017 7:03PM EST
The MNA for Laurier-Dorion, Gerry Sklavounos, will not be charged with sexual assault.
Sklavounos has been on sick leave from the National Assembly since October when a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her.
At a vigil held at Laval University in the wake of several sexual assaults on campus, Alice Paquet stood up and said she had been assaulted by an MNA while working at a Quebec City restaurant in 2014.
Paquet later specified that she met Sklavounos at the restaurant one evening, then went to his room -- an event that was repeated several weeks later.
Paquet added that she had gone to police one year later but that the investigation didn't go anywhere.
At the time police said that when they tried to investigate, Paquet refused to return their phone calls.
Quebec City relaunched their investigation in October after Paquet went public with her accusations and this time she met with police investigators at length.
After examining the case presented by Quebec City police, the Crown Prosecutor's Office decided that no charges will be laid.
"The director of criminal and penal prosecution decided that there is no criminal offence in this file and there is no charge that will be laid in this file," said spokesperson Jean-Pascal Boucher.
Prosecutors said in a statement that they met Paquet before making their decision public in order to explain their decision.
Sklavounos was removed from the Liberal caucus when the accusations against him became public. He had been the deputy government House leader.
On Thursday Nicole Menard, the president of the Liberal caucus, said the party will discuss Sklavounos next week and decide whether he will be invited to return.
The MNA has always maintained he never assaulted Paquet.
In a statement, Sklavounos said he was happy to learn he would not be charged.
"It is with relief and satisfaction that my family and I have welcomed the decision of the DPCP to not lay charges following allegations accusations made public last October," wrote the MNA.
He then thanked his family and others for supporting him, and said he hoped to soon return to his duties as an MNA.
Paquet still has her supporters, including Quebec Solidaire MNA Manon Massé and PQ MNA Carole Poirier.
"Of course I still believe her," Massé said. "When I say I believe Mme. Paquet, it's because what we saw in the last 20-40 years. For women, it's very difficult to be recognized as a woman who has been (harassed) or abused or raped."
“A woman who speaks up for whatever reason, I stand with her,” said Poirier. “Because many women don't speak up.”