A 30-page letter anonymously sent to the upper echelons of Australia's government last week contained a decades-old rape allegation, and the man accused spoke up on Wednesday. Attorney General Christian Porter confirmed the letter alleged that he raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988 and categorically denied that such a thing occurred. He said the letter claimed that he raped her at a high school debating tournament when he was 17, reports the BBC. "I did not sleep with the (alleged) victim. We didn't have anything of that nature happen between us," Porter said, per the AP. He remembered the classmate as an "intelligent, bright, happy person." She took her own life in June 2020 at age 49, and the New York Times reports it's unknown if there was any connection between that act and her rape claim.
She had been in contact with New South Wales Police last year over the claim but did not make a formal statement. After her death the investigation was halted. The case was last week referred again to police who on Tuesday closed their probe due to "insufficient admissible evidence to proceed." Porter, 50, said he was waiting for that investigation to finish before coming forward, and that his plans are to stay in his post following a mental-health leave. Stepping down, he said, would set a precedent in which "any person in Australia can lose their job and their life’s work based on nothing more than an allegation." As for his time off, "I'm going to take a couple of short weeks leave just for my own sanity. I think that I will be able to return from that and do my job." Some are calling for an independent inquiry. (A rape claim made two weeks earlier rattled parliament.)