The ABC journalist at the centre of sexual harassment allegations against NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has detailed her claims in public for the first time.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Ashleigh Raper confirmed she had been groped by Mr Foley at a Christmas party in 2016.
‘He stood next to me. He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants. He rested his hand on my buttocks. I completely froze,’ she said.
Ms Raper had been at an official Christmas function at NSW Parliament House for state political reporters, politicians and their staff, which moved on to Martin Place Bar later in the night.
She claims Mr Foley had approached a group of people she was with to say goodnight when he groped her, leaving her ‘shaken’.
Ms Raper said the incident was witnessed by a senior political journalist, but at her request he kept the matter to himself.
Ms Raper said there were ‘a number of reasons’ she kept her silence, one being that she believed it would be her that wore the public backlash more than Mr Foley.
‘It is clear to me that a woman who is the subject of such behaviour is often the person who suffers once a complaint is made,’ she said in her statement.
‘I cherished my position as a state political reporter and feared that would be lost.
‘I also feared the negative impact the publicity could have on me personally and on my young family.
‘This impact is now being felt profoundly.’
The incident came to light in state parliament last month, when Corrections Minister David Elliott mentioned it under parliamentary privilege.