WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAILS
Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has resigned following allegations of sexual impropriety against him.
Prior to his resignation, Brown held a press conference and said the allegations were "false."
In a statement announcing his resignation as leader, Brown said he would remain as MPP for Simcoe North "while I definitively clear my name from these false allegations."
With the Ontario Election less than 5 months away, Queens Park has been rocked by a political earthquake with allegations surfacing about Brown.
Brown denied the allegations of sexual misconduct at an unexpected news conference late last night. (Wed. Jan. 24th), calling them "categorically untrue."
The news conference came just ahead of a CTV News report detailing graphic sexual misconduct allegations by two women dating back to when Brown was a federal MP for Barrie.
The report said one of the women, who is now 29, said she was still in high school when Brown allegedly asked her to perform oral sex on him.
The other woman said she was a university student working in Brown’s constituency office when he sexually assaulted her at his home after an event she helped organize, CTV News reported
Brown spoke for about 1 minute.
He looked visibly distressed, as he said he'd learned about the allegations a couple of hours earlier.
Patrick Brown told reporters, "These allegations are false. Every one of them."
He added: "I will defend myself as hard as I can, with all the means at my disposal."
Shortly after Brown held his brief news conference, several of his staff including his campaign manager, chief of staff and deputy manager announced their resignations.
In a statement by the three they said after hearing about the allegations, their advice to Patrick Brown was that he should resign as PC Party leader.
The joint statement added "He did not accept that advice, so we have therefore resigned.
It is signed by Andrew Boddington, Alykhan Velshi and Dan Robertson.
Brown's press secretary also announced his resignation, and called for him to step down "immediately."
The leader of Ontario's New Democratic Party, Andrea Horwath, echoed that call, saying: "Patrick Brown must resign, immediately."
"I'm disgusted and disturbed by these sexual misconduct allegations," she said in a statement.
"He deserves his day in court, but no person can lead a political party in this province with allegations like these hanging over his head."
Not long afterward, Premier Kathleen Wynne released a statement, saying coming forward was a "difficult and brave thing to do."
News of the allegations comes as the PCs appeared to be in a dead heat in the polls with the Liberals, if not edging them out with a slight lead.