Parliamentary Services boss will not settle with former staffer sacked over sexual assault allegations

The head of Parliamentary Services will not settle with the alleged offender sacked over sexual assault allegations, and he's revealed police were involved. 

House Speaker Trevor Mallard announced the alleged offender had been stood down in May 2019 following an "historic allegation of assault", which he described at the time as tantamount to "rape". 

Mallard came under fire in December last year over revelations that more than $300,000 in taxpayer money was spent to settle his legal battle with the alleged offender over the "rape" comment. 

Mallard apologised "unreservedly" for the accusation, but Parliamentary Services chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday he is not prepared to settle with the alleged offender.

"One of the things that I wanted to achieve in coming to Parliamentary Services was ensuring this was a safe place to work. I've done investigation and I simply believe that we've done nothing wrong, so that's the reason why I'm not willing to settle," he said. 

"What I will say is I'm not willing to settle with anybody that I believe has done something wrong. If we get taken to the court and we lose, I'd rather lose because we've done the right thing and we haven't paid money to someone that has been accused of those things."

Gonzalez-Montero revealed to the committee that there was more than one complaint and more than one complainant making allegations against the alleged offender. He also disclosed that police have been involved.

"There were more than one incident with more than one victim," Gonzalez-Montero said. "There were two separate things."

Mallard made the "rape" comment after the Debbie Francis report into bullying and harassment at Parliament was made public in May 2019. He was commenting on a sexual assault accusation in the report.

The Francis Review found 14 reports of sexual assault and Mallard announced that Parliamentary Services removed a "threat to the safety of women". He said what the staff member was claimed to have done to a colleague was tantamount to "rape".

Gonzalez-Montero told the committee that he informed Mallard of the complaint against the alleged offender so the Speaker was aware of what was going on. 

"I mentioned to the Speaker that there was something that happened... that I'd become aware of, and that I would probably be thinking about reopening an investigation," he said.

"The reason why I did that is because at the time there was a lot of interest in the Francis Review. The previous year there had been a lot of interest in my appointment as CE and I wanted to ensure that there were no surprises with the Speaker."