Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says he will stand aside temporarily after a fellow Melbourne City councillor quit, reportedly claiming she had been sexually harassed by a senior member of the council.
The Herald Sun reported that councillor Tessa Sullivan resigned on Friday night, effective immediately.
Cr Doyle said he had been told allegations had been levelled against him, but he had not been formally told the details of the allegations.
"I am shocked," he said in a statement on Twitter.
"I have not been officially informed of the specifics but find the allegations detailed to me by media outlets thoroughly abhorrent, not only as Lord Mayor but as a father of young women, a husband, a brother and as the head of an office made up entirely of women.
"I am frustrated that I have not been formally provided the specific allegations, which have been strategically released to media which is a denial of natural justice and clearly damaging to my reputation.
"I have decided to take leave for one month while the investigation takes place and am being legally represented in this matter.
"My decision to take leave must not be interpreted as any concession or admission.
"What is important now is that proper process be allowed to take place and that the rights of all involved are respectfully handled."
Ms Sullivan, a lawyer and dispute resolution mediator, was elected on the same ticket as Cr Doyle.
She had been chairing the People City portfolio.
Cr Doyle was first elected to the lord mayoralty in 2008.
He was Victoria's Liberal Party leader between 2002–2006.
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