Teen alleges two-year affair with Senator Don...
|
Bookmark and Share
Jun 18, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Teen alleges two-year affair with Senator Don Meredith

Senator under investigation for workplace sexual harassment faces fresh allegation

OurWindsor.Ca

A Canadian senator who is under investigation for workplace sexual harassment is facing a new allegation that he had a sexual relationship with a teenager during the past two years.

Don Meredith, 50, has been a senator since 2010 and is also a Pentecostal pastor with the Praise Centre in Toronto.

Soon after the allegations against Meredith were published on the Toronto Star website, the Prime Minister’s Office took swift action to oust him from Conservative circles.

“Senator Meredith is no longer a member of the Caucus,” spokesman Stephen Lecce said in an email.

According to the young woman, who is now 18, the relationship began soon after she turned 16. She met Meredith at a church event in Ottawa.

She said it began with sexually explicit chats over Skype and Viber in which Meredith asked her to remove her top and underwear. She said he then masturbated on camera.

The relationship progressed to physical intimacy, kissing and touching before the girl turned 18. Soon after she turned 18, the woman said, they had intercourse twice.

When the senator broke it off earlier this year, he told her in a text message that he did so because “God has spoken to me and am (sic) not happy with me ... I should be leading you not making you.”

The Star has conducted detailed interviews with the woman in person and over the telephone. The Star has also viewed text and email messages the two exchanged.

Meredith, reached by the Star on Tuesday, said he was too busy to answer questions.

“I’m just in a meeting right now; I can’t speak to you,” Meredith said. The senator hung up when the Star began asking questions.

Following the call, the Star sent two sets of written questions to Meredith. The Star left requests for comment on the issue of an alleged inappropriate relationship on Meredith’s cellphone, at his Toronto area church, and his Senate office in Ottawa. Meredith has yet to respond.

In Canada, the age of consent for sexual relations is 16. However, the age of consent is 18 if there is a relationship of authority, trust or dependency.

Meredith was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2010. He had run unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate in the 2008 byelection in Toronto Centre. A landscaper by trade — his company is called Donscape Landscaping Services — Meredith had become prominent in Toronto for speaking out against youth violence.

Last week, CTV’s Robert Fife reported that Meredith is under investigation by the Senate for “allegations of workplace sexual harassment and bullying.” According to the CTV report, “four of Meredith’s former female employees and four other Senate staffers allege he made sexual advances, used sexual innuendo, and was often rude and vindictive.”

Senate Speaker Leo Housakos confirmed to media outlets that an investigation he called a “workplace assessment” is underway. The woman the Star interviewed did not work for the senator and has no connection to the workplace harassment allegations.

In an online biography at the Pentecostal Praise Centre in Vaughan, Meredith is described as having a strong commitment to religion and youth. He is also known for his comments on the importance of family values.

“He has a heart for people and desires nothing more than to see all people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and His glorious Kingdom. With a strong passion for Youth and their families, he wants to empower them through education,” the biography states. “He has dedicated his life to work with other Faith Leaders, Politicians, and Police to bring about change in how we Engage, Encourage and Empower our youth across Canada.”

Meredith met the young woman, who was then a girl, at a religious event. The woman is embarrassed and troubled by the relationship. Because of the nature of the allegations and her young age, the Star agreed to protect her anonymity.

In February 2013, Meredith was invited to speak at a celebration of Black History Month at a church in Ottawa.

The girl, who had just turned 16, was in attendance.

“He was cute. I was meeting a senator. I got a picture with him,” said the woman, recalling the meeting.

“There were a lot of people waiting to speak to him. It was a celebrity experience. He kept telling me to wait. Then he came and talked to me and gave me his card and wrote his cellphone number on the back and told me to call him.”

On Valentine’s Day in 2013, she said, Meredith invited her to dinner. She did not go on the advice of her family. “I was scared; it did not seem right.”

Over the next three months, Meredith and the young woman texted. He used his government cellphone, she said. He invited her to visit his Senate office and she did in June. She said Meredith hugged her and squeezed her buttocks with his hands.

“Why would you do that? What’s wrong with you?” she recalls asking him. On that occasion and others when she queried why a married man who was much older would be involved with her, she said he replied, “I am a man.”

The woman said she found Meredith charismatic and interesting, despite what she described as his inappropriate touching.

He then asked her to go back to his hotel, the Chateau Laurier. She said he promised he would “only take off my socks.” She said no. They went for Chinese food instead. She said he asked her for a kiss goodnight and she said she refused.

They began an on-again, off-again relationship that always stopped short of intercourse. “He said no, I’m not going to lie down or anything. He made it clear he did not want to have sex with me until I was 18.”

Instead, the woman recalls, their relationship included “kissing and (sexual) touching.” This occurred in the place she was living in Ottawa.

She said the senator initially thought she was over 18, but that within six weeks of their first meeting she told him she was 16.

The Star has put allegations to Meredith that he had an improper and sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18. Meredith has not responded.
 

messages
Messages sent between Don Meredith and the young woman, now 18.

The woman said the relationship also included sexually explicit talk and actions conveyed via Skype and Viber, both methods of exchanging photos, videos and conversations online.

She said he asked her to remove her top on camera, and to “touch myself,” which she said she did. She said he removed his pants and masturbated. This happened frequently, she said, and seemed to occur when Meredith was in his hotel at the Chateau Laurier or away on “Senate business.”

At the end of 2013 she said Meredith broke off contact for several months. She said he told her he knew what they were doing was inappropriate. They renewed the relationship in early 2014 and she said he visited the place she was living twice for romantic encounters.
 

messages2
Messages sent between Don Meredith and the young woman, now 18.

Towards the end of 2014, when she was 17, she said the senator, partially naked, gave her what he called “a teaser, not full intercourse.” He insisted they would not have intercourse until she was 18. They did have intercourse, twice, in early 2015 after she was 18. He ended the relationship in early May.

Why is the woman telling her story now?

Last week, CTV, followed by other media, including Canadian Press and CBC, revealed in a story that Meredith was under a Senate review due to a high turnover of staff at his office. CTV stated that the review began in February and that the senator was facing allegations of sexual harassment.

The woman the Star interviewed said she was concerned that the investigators would not believe what the former staff members were alleging and she wanted to add her voice to the story.

The young woman said that Meredith never offered her a job or in any way tried to influence her with his position. He did provide her with some money (about $200 because he wanted her hair straightened) and she said he gave her money to purchase new towels for her apartment.

She said she regrets the affair. She said she was in love with Meredith and felt that he loved her, too. In one email she wrote him in 2013, the girl, then 16, said she wanted them to have a permanent relationship. “The way I loved you, I wanted the world to someday know what had been going on.” She said the relationship has left her confused and hurt.
 

messages3
Messages sent between Don Meredith and the young woman, now 18.

The woman has provided text messages and emails that reveal a relationship dating back to March 2013.

Meredith’s comments progress from thanking her for her positive comments shortly after they met:

“Wow my head is swelling all these wonderful complimentary remarks. You are. Good for me.”

More recently, in 2015, he wrote: “You are special amazing awesome blessed and loved” and “u so hot.”

Following the reports on the sexual harassment investigation, Meredith, his wife and their daughter took to social media to counter any allegations that he has done anything wrong.

Their daughter, who is in her early 20s, tweeted on Tuesday night, “What kind of a person do you have to be to wake up in the morning and decide let me try and steal this person’s happiness?” She also tweeted, “There are way too many cruel individuals out there seeking to ruin people’s lives.”

Late last week, Meredith’s wife, Michelle, tweeted an image of the “Meredith Family crest,” and told her followers, “We stand united.” Another tweet said, “Let your haters be your motivators. Celebrating me.”

Meredith has sent two tweets to his followers, both on June 11, the day after the CTV report on the workplace sexual harassment allegations.

“A lion never loses sleep over the opinions of sheep,” says the first tweet, accompanied by a photo of a male lion.

The second is accompanied by a photo of a green-eyed eagle: “When a storm is coming, all other birds seek shelter. The Eagle alone avoids the storm by flying above it. So in the storms of life, may your heart soar like an eagle.”

Meredith has previously been criticized for improperly claiming he had a doctoral degree (he is no longer allowed to call himself “Dr. Meredith” on Senate correspondence), and for expensing to the Senate a Washington trip he and his wife took to attend the National Prayer Breakfast. Meredith repaid the funds.

This story has been updated from an earlier version.

Toronto Star

|
Bookmark and Share

(5) Comment

By veryoldguy | JUNE 19, 2015 12:43 PM
Hey Skippy, Harper is a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They believe: that the Bible is without error. The free market is divinely inspired. Environmental regulations are impediments to God's will. Believers distrust mainstream science. God opposes government regulation or taxation. God won't let us ruin the earth. You know Skippy' you can look this stuff up, if you have the intellectual curiosity and Google. But hey, you can believe that Steve belongs to a church "that is not actually Christian" but research suggests otherwise.
By Jay | JUNE 19, 2015 09:14 AM
@veryoldguy - what an ignorant, ill informed comment. It's funny that you love to condemn religion in particular, Christians, but you never seem to condemn Muslims who are actually murdering and committing atrocities in the name of religion. I'm not aware of Christians committing atrocities in the name of religion. You are telling LIES about the PM and his Christian beliefs - if you had done some investigation you would find that Harper belongs to a church in the East end of Ottawa that is not actually Christian - it is a fellowship type church where all religions are accepted. It's too bad that you have to make up stories and lies to put your message across. Athiests always love to push their "religion" down our throats.
By veryoldguy | JUNE 18, 2015 07:30 PM
Harper has a thing about evangelical Christians. Don, the Pentecostal minister, gets a senate appointment. Christian Reformers at Redeemer College get over $4 million in Action Plan money through MP David Sweet. Sweet's wife is the controller of Cardus, a Christian "think tank" that is homophobic. Living Rock Ministries get federal funding through Stockwell Day and Harper. Harper quit the United Church when it accepted gay and lesbian ministers. So the cry often heard is that Christians are being persecuted. Some of these Christians should be prosecuted. Harper's hubris will lead to his downfall. It couldn't happen to a "nicer guy".
By St Christopher | JUNE 18, 2015 01:31 PM
Organized religion and politics attract SUCH scumbags and posers preying on the weak minded...
By Paul | JUNE 18, 2015 11:34 AM
Gotta give Mr Harper some credit,I don't know where he keeps coming up with these senate appointees.So qualified,upstanding ,honest people.
( Page 1 of 1 )
Join The Conversation Sign Up Login

Latest Local News

Ontario

Ontario sets out rules for physician-assisted deaths

Life insurance benefits couldn't be denied to patients, health workers would get protections under...

Snapshot

Columns

‘Lock-her-up’ rally a Trumpian event: Walkom

The Edmonton rally calling for Rachel Notley to be jailed said more about media than reality

Snapshot

In Your Neighbourhood Today

SPONSORED CONTENT View More