Senator Don Meredith hires lawyer amid allegations

Meredith quit the Conservative caucus in the wake of a Toronto Star story alleging a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old

OTTAWA – A senator facing published allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl that ended earlier this year has hired a lawyer.

Ottawa law firm Conway Baxter Wilson LLP issued a two sentence statement on Sunday saying Sen. Don Meredith has retained Ottawa lawyer Colin Baxter and that he intends to respect the Senate’s internal procedures.

The statement says Baxter has been retained “with respect to proceedings” of the Senate Ethics officer and a Senate committee, but does not provide further details.

Senate Speaker Leo Housakos said last week that he referred the allegations involving Meredith to the ethics officer.

Related: Maclean’s politics podcast on Don Meredith

Meredith quit the Conservative caucus last week after the Toronto Star reported that a woman said she had a sexual relationship with him that began shortly after she turned 16.

The woman told the Star that Meredith initially believed her to be 18, but she told him her true age within six weeks of their first meeting.

The Star report said the woman, who is now 18, had sexually explicit online chats with Meredith and that the relationship progressed to kissing and touching before she turned 18.

She said the pair had intercourse twice after she turned 18 before Meredith, 50, broke off the relationship earlier this year.

The Senate is also conducting what it calls a workplace assessment.

Although there is no formal complaint against him, Senate sources have confirmed that the review is looking into allegations against Meredith of verbal abuse, bullying and sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Meredith is now sitting as an Independent.

A spokesman for the law firm did not immediately return an email requesting further comment.

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