U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Australia's opposition leader Bill Shorten in Sydney August 12, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed (AUSTRALIA - Tags: POLITICS)
Labor leader Bill Shorten admitted on Thursday that he was accused of rape by a young woman. The crime allegedly happened in the 1980s. However, he said that based on information from the Victoria Police, there was no case and no charges were laid.
The woman made the claim in a Facebook post. She recalled that she was 16 years old in 1986 when she joined the Australian Labor Party. She was a delegate for ALP state and national conference. At a Young Labor camp near Geelong, while she was alone, she heard a knock at her door at 4 am.
She claimed it was Shorten who was at the door. She said he pushed her into a bathroom against a towel rack, removed her pants and allegedly sexually molested her.
The Facebook post in 2013 led the Victoria police to investigate her claim after she filed a complaint against the Labor leader. After the cops' probe, they asked for advice from the Office of Public Prosecutions which said "there was no reasonable prospect of conviction." They then informed Shorten and his accuser of their decision.
Shorten said he could have easily just kept mum about the investigation, but he decided to clear his name, saying, "The easy option would be to say nothing, but that is not who I am."
He refused to provide more details about the claim of rape, but described her charges as false and abhorrent. However, Shorten acknowledged that she is someone whom he knew briefly during their younger days when he was 19.
Other prominent politicians who have been accused of sexual misconduct include former Labor MP Craig Thomson who was found guilty of spending union money on prostitutes and former House Speaker Peter Slipper who resigned from his post after a male staff filed sexual harassment charges against him.