Reporter who accused Trudeau of past groping ‘will not be pursuing the incident’

Reporter who accused Trudeau of past groping ‘will not be pursuing the incident’
© Greg Nash

The former news reporter who said she was groped by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2000 issued a statement Friday reaffirming the validity of her accusations but noting that she would not pursue the issue further.

Rose Knight told CBC News on Friday that allegations are true that Trudeau groped her at a 2000 fundraiser for avalanche safety, before he was in politics. She said he apologized to her and her newspaper the next day upon learning that Knight was a reporter.

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“I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward,” Trudeau reportedly said at the time.

"I did not pursue the incident at the time and will not be pursuing the incident further. I have had no subsequent contact with Mr. Trudeau, before or after he became Prime Minister," Knight said Friday, adding that she only issued the statement in response to "mounting media pressure."

On Thursday, Trudeau said that while he remembered the incident differently, his reported apology obtained by the newspaper at the time was accurate.

"I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way. But I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently and this is part of the reflections that we have to go through," he said.

Valerie Bourne, former publisher of the Advance, where Knight worked, told CBC that she would not classify the incident as "sexual assault" but noted that Knight was "unsettled" by Trudeau's alleged conduct.

"My recollections of the conversation were that she came to me because she was unsettled by it. She didn't like what had happened. She wasn't sure how she should proceed with it because of course we're talking somebody who was known to the Canadian community," Bourne said.

Trudeau's press secretary Matt Pascuzzo said in a statement to BuzzFeed News on Thursday that the prime minister has always respected women and that he "doesn't think he had any negative interactions" at the 2000 fundraiser.