Gurpreet Singh Dhillon is Brampton city’s councillor and he has said that any accusations that he had sexually assaulted a woman in Turkey are “baseless and defamatory”.
The city of Brampton office took the action of notifying the police about the allegations.
The allegations of sexual misconduct are that a city councillor whilst on a trade mission to Turkey allegedly sexually assaulted a fellow member of the Canadian trade mission.
The Toronto-area municipality said it referred the matter to the local Peel Regional Police and the city’s integrity commissioner and has zero-tolerance “regarding any type of sexual misconduct, harassment, or bullying.”
The scenario raises the unusual prospect of police here looking into alleged misconduct involving two Canadians — one an elected official — in a foreign country.
But Coun. , chair of the city’s economic development committee, said Tuesday he has never been “charged, arrested or under investigation.”
I will continue to vigorously protect my reputation
An “official complaint” has not been levelled against him with the city and police have not questioned him about any matter, Gurpreet Singh Dhillon said in a statement, adding that at no time during the mission “did I participate in any inappropriate conduct.”
“I will continue to vigorously protect my reputation and will take any and all appropriate legal action as deemed necessary to do so,” he said.
The alleged altercation is said to have occurred while Dhillon was part of a trade mission to Turkey in mid-November organized by the Canada-Turkey Business Council.
It has left the alleged victim deeply shaken, said Badar Shamin, a businessman who was part of the same delegation and spoke to her the morning after the purported incident.
“She felt betrayed, she felt her confidence in public office was shattered,” he said. “Every conversation I’ve had with her, she’s been afraid about repercussions of going to the authorities, because of the perceived level of influence the councillor might have in the community.”
The alleged victim visited the Canadian embassy and spoke to diplomats and an RCMP officer there, but did not report the incident to Turkish police, says Shamin. The National Post was unable to confirm her visit with the embassy.
She did relay her accusations to city officials on returning to Canada, said several sources.
“Upon learning of the allegations against a member of the council, City of Brampton officials immediately brought the matter to the attention of both the Peel Regional Police Service and Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner for their review and consideration,” said a city spokeswoman when asked about charges against Dhillon.
“Given that this is a matter that has been referred to police, it would be inappropriate for city officials to make any further comment at this time,” said senior public-relations advisor Natalie Stogdill. “The City of Brampton has a policy of zero tolerance regarding any type of sexual misconduct, harassment, or bullying.”
Shamin said the woman told him the purported incident occurred in an Ankara hotel where most of the delegation was staying, but he has no direct personal knowledge of what happened. He said he encouraged her to go to the authorities and she later visited the Canadian embassy.
Shamin said he was left troubled himself by the alleged incident.
“I feel very disappointed by this whole situation,” he said. “When we go to those lengths and engage stakeholders to go to a distant country to represent Canada… anything you get involved in that could put both the nation’s reputation and your municipality’s reputation and your personal reputation at risk is obviously very disturbing.”