Man at centre of rape claim in hospital
The former Liberal staffer at the centre of the Brittany Higgins rape claim has reportedly checked himself into hospital in Sydney.
The man accused by Ms Higgins of sexually assaulting her in Senator Linda Reynolds's office at Parliament House drove to the Royal North Shore Hospital and checked himself in on Wednesday, sources told The Daily Telegraph.
A source told the newspaper that the man was concerned and had sought psychiatric care, but had not self harmed.
The former staffer has not been publicly named, is not under police investigation and has never been charged.
Ms Higgins told news.com.au on Monday that she was raped by a colleague in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' ministerial office in March 2019 and claimed she felt forced to choose between reporting it to the police or keeping her job.
She said the horror night - which came when she was 24 and just months into her job at the then-Defence Industry Minister's office - soon emerged as a crisis to be managed by her successive chiefs of staff, cabinet ministers and even staff in the Prime Minister's office.
Ms Higgins said her colleague took her to Parliament House after a night of drinking. Security guards have confirmed they signed the pair in and unlocked the door to Ms Reynolds's office.
After the male staffer was seen leaving alone, security guards said they went to the office and found Ms Higgins disorientated and half-naked.
The male staffer agreed to resign several days after the alleged attack.
Despite reporting the incident to the Australian Federal Police within days of it occurring, Ms Higgins ultimately chose not to make a formal complaint, a decision she said was driven by her desire at the time to protect the Liberal Party and her "dream job" on the eve of the election.
Senator Reynolds' chief of staff contacted Ms Higgins to discuss the matter in her office. This meeting was conducted in the room where Ms Higgins says she was raped, a decision that a spokesman for the Morrison Government has conceded was a mistake.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday offered Ms Higgins a personal apology for the way the matter was handled and announced a review of workplace culture, telling MPs in the party room they all had a responsibility to do better.
Ms Higgins welcomed the step but said it was "long overdue". In a statement released today, she said the Government has "questions to answer" over its conduct in relation to the alleged rape and urged the Prime Minister not to engage in victim-blaming rhetoric.
The PM said he was "not happy" that he had not been told about the alleged sexual assault at the time.
Senator Reynolds offered an "unreserved apology" over the handling of the rape allegations to Ms Higgins in the Senate, but refused to say whether she has had ongoing contact with the male Liberal staffer after the incident.
"Like everybody in this building, I stand, I still stand, ready to assist Brittany in any way that I can, and this begins and ends by allowing Brittany to guide this process, respecting her privacy and respecting the integrity of what is now a police investigation,'' Senator Reynolds said.
"She has indicated that she intends to pursue her complaint with the Australian Federal Police, and all of these matters go to the heart of that inquiry."
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has called for Senator Reynolds's resignation.
Ms Higgins' subsequent boss, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, delivered an emotional speech in the Senate describing her as a "valued employee".
She revealed the detailed steps she took when she learned that a potential sexual assault had occurred, including urging Ms Higgins to go straight to the police.
Originally published as Man at centre of rape claim in hospital