Craig Sauvé withdraws from Projet Montréal after CBC report, denies sexual assault allegation

·2 min read
Craig Sauvé is a candidate for city council in Montreal's Sud-Ouest borough. He was first elected in 2013. (Holly Cabrera/CBC - image credit)
Craig Sauvé is a candidate for city council in Montreal's Sud-Ouest borough. He was first elected in 2013. (Holly Cabrera/CBC - image credit)

Craig Sauvé, a city councillor in the city's Sud-Ouest borough, has come forward as the elected official who was the subject of a sexual assault claim nearly a decade ago and has withdrawn from the Projet Montréal caucus.

"I was the subject of an unfounded allegation regarding an event that took place in 2012," Sauvé wrote in a statement Thursday.

Sauvé issued the statement after CBC News reported that, in the summer of 2020, mayoral candidate Valérie Plante said she was unaware of allegations against any elected official, despite knowing of an allegation against an elected official, who revealed himself to be Sauvé on Thursday.

CBC News has seen documents that show police closed an investigation into the matter in February 2021.

"Finding nothing to blame myself for, I treated the allegation in a collaborative and respectful way, and after an extensive investigation, police closed the case," Sauvé said in his statement.

"I want to be clear with everyone, I categorically deny these allegations."

Sauvé said he would offer no further comment, but then later posted to Facebook that he is withdrawing from the party and, if elected, will sit as an independent.

He said he is making the decision of his own accord.

"I would like to reaffirm that I am indeed the person of integrity and respect that you know," he wrote, saying he remains open to any steps that may follow.

"I am also prepared to take the necessary legal steps to defend my honour and my reputation, which have been seriously attacked."

He was first elected as a city councillor in 2013. In 2017, with the election of Plante, Sauvé was put on the city's executive committee as a special advisor. He also sits as vice-chair of the board of directors of the Société de transport de Montréal.

The party launched a mediation process between Sauvé and the citizen in 2018, in response to the allegations.

On Thursday, Plante defended her decision to say, last year, that no one inside the party was the subject of sexual assault or harassment allegations.

"For us, we were proactive in putting in place a process of [mediation] that both parties agreed to," Plante said at a news conference held this morning.

"To me, it was a closed case."

Plante noted that following the end of mediation, the party did not hear from the citizen for two years.

"I've been transparent. I feel like I've done the right thing," she said. "And ultimately, I believe that when there are situations like this, the 'presumption d'innocence' also is important in our society."

Plante's rival, Denis Coderre, called on Sauvé to remove himself from the running, with polls set to open on Saturday.

Coderre, who has been the subject of criticism of his own after finally releasing his financial records, said the CBC report points to a lack of transparency by Plante and her team.

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