Brittany Higgins rape claim: Fourth woman comes forward
A former Liberal staffer accused of raping his colleague Brittany Higgins has been accused of assault by a fourth woman who has taken her complaint to the police.
The woman, who does not want to be named, made a formal complaint at a police station in Canberra on Sunday after learning the identity of the man Ms Higgins claims assaulted her in 2019.
The fourth woman said she was socialising after work with colleagues in 2017 at Canberra's Public Bar, when the man reached his hand under the table and stroked her thigh.
The fresh allegation followed a third woman coming forward claiming she was also raped by the same male staffer while volunteering for the Coalition's 2016 election campaign.
That woman told The Australian newspaper that the male staffer bought her several drinks on a night out and she became so drunk she vomited, so she decided to call an Uber home, but claims the man told her his hotel was nearby and he would "look after her".
She alleges she woke up with her shirt open, her jeans pushed down and the staffer "lying on top of me".
"I believe his actions … constitute sexual assault, because he performed or tried to perform sexual acts on me whilst I was … unable to provide valid and informed consent,'' she said.
The young woman - who had not had sex before - did not go to police at the time.
"I was severely embarrassed about it and felt dirty and ashamed," she said.
Another woman has also made claims against the man.
Ms Higgins, who alleges she was raped on a couch in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' office by the male colleague in March 2019, will meet with the Australian Federal Police tomorrow to make a formal complaint.
Meanwhile, another former Liberal staffer named Chelsey Potter has come out in support of Ms Higgins, revealing she was unhappy with how her own unrelated allegation against a different male colleague was handled.
Ms Potter claimed she was sexually assaulted in 2015 and decided to go public with the allegation in 2019.
At the time of the incident, she had been working for now Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, and said she approached him to discuss the matter after going public but he instead directed her to the Women's Information Service and 1800RESPECT.
Mr Birmingham said he only became aware of Ms Potter's "serious and deeply distressing" alleged assault when a journalist contacted his office for comment a week before she went public.
Originally published as Brittany Higgins rape claim: Fourth woman comes forward