Robert Doyle: investigation finds former Melbourne lord mayor committed 'serious' sexual misconduct

Three years after an inquiry was ordered into sexual misconduct allegations against former Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle when he was chairman of Melbourne Health, the QC who led the investigation has found the harassment did occur and that the complainant was “an honest and sincere witness”.

Charles Scerri QC led the investigation on behalf of the government following reports in 2018 that Doyle sexually harassed a woman at the Melbourne Health medical awards ceremony in 2016, touching her on her upper thigh repeatedly under a table and making inappropriate remarks. Al tempo, Doyle was chairman of the board of Melbourne Health.

The woman said she attended the awards ceremony to support her husband, a senior specialist at the hospital, who had been invited to accept an award. She was placed at a table seated next to Doyle. She said she asked her husband to swap seats with her because Doyle was making her feel so uncomfortable.

“The complainant appeared to be an honest and sincere witness and had no reason to lie about these matters,” a summary of Scerri’s findings, published on Friday evening, trovato.

"Davvero, the whole experience, including Mr Scerri’s investigation, has caused her enormous distress. Mr Scerri has found that the conduct described by the complainant did occur.”

The summary said Doyle’s conduct varied in degree of seriousness.

“Some of the conduct could be described as over-familiar, rude, obnoxious or sleazy,” the report found.

“In that category were inappropriate comments that Mr Doyle made about the complainant’s appearance. tuttavia, some of the conduct was ‘serious misconduct of a sexual nature’ within the scope of Mr Scerri’s investigation. This included touching the complainant’s inner thigh, close to her groin, and the complainant’s lower back.

“Mr Scerri also found that the relevant conduct was unwelcome and caused the complainant serious distress.”

Doyle has always denied the allegations, and “continues to claim that due to his ill health he is unable to respond to the allegations”, diceva il rapporto, stating that “despite extensive correspondence” Doyle had never responded. Di conseguenza, Scerri finalised his report and delivered his findings to the Victorian government.

Doyle quit the post and his role as chairman of Melbourne Health after the allegations came to light. He also stepped down from his position as lord mayor of the City of Melbourne in February 2018 after separate allegations of sexual harassment.

An independent investigation by Melbourne City Council conducted in 2018 found Doyle sexually harassed two councillors, Tessa Sullivan, who resigned after making a complaint, and Cathy Oke. The investigation found the council was an unsafe workplace for them, and that Doyle had sexually harassed them both.

Victoria police confirmed in June 2020 that a sexual crimes investigation into Doyle had been completed and no charges would be laid.

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