Sask. NDP investigating complaints of sexual harassment against former candidate

Sask. NDP investigating complaints of sexual harassment against former candidate

The interim leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party spoke to reporters on Thursday about allegations of sexual harassment against a former party candidate.

Nicole Sarauer told the media that two separate reviews are being conducted by the NDP: one specific to the alleged harassment and another about how the party dealt with those allegations.

Sarauer said she first learned of the allegations a couple of weeks ago and recently spoke with the complainant.

Rylee Schuhmacher complained to Saskatoon police last month about an alleged sexual assault.

Before that incident, Schumacher said she was harassed by the same man while she was working as a volunteer for the Sask. NDP and he was a candidate for the party.

She said complaints about his behaviour were made to higher-ups in the NDP but nothing was done about them.

2 reviews 

Sarauer said an independent committee created by the Sask. NDP last year will review the specifics of the complaint.

But she said the party must also look into who knew about these allegations and what they did about them.

"Separate and apart from the anti-harassment committee process, we're going to look into, internally, what went on in this instance and if there's ways that we can improve," she told reporters.

Sarauer said the committee, which is independent of her role and that of other party leaders, will rule on the allegations.

"I don't have the authority to kick somebody out of the party," Sarauer said.

"The anti-harassment committee does have that authority. I know that they're working through their processes right now. I don't know what stage they're at in their process because as I said, it's completely independent."

Saskatoon police confirm an official sexual assault complaint was made in September. They say members of the force's Sex Crimes Unit are investigating in conjunction with Crown prosecutors.

The truth of the allegations made by the complainant has not been verified.