Nationals MP Michael Johnsen has identified himself as the man at the centre of new rape allegations in a statement declaring his innocence.
Johnsen, the Upper Hunter MP, said on Wednesday: “Any investigation will conclude I am an innocent party.”
He said he would take leave immediately and step aside from the government party rooms while cooperating with police.
Nationals leader and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Thursday said he had sought Johnsen’s resignation as Parliamentary Secretary.
“In light of the police investigation and upon learning of allegations against the Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen, I sought Mr Johnsen’s resignation from his role as Parliamentary Secretary and he duly resigned,” Barilaro said.
“Mr Johnsen also agreed to no longer sit in Nationals Party Room nor Joint Party Room while the police investigation is underway.”
The allegations were made by Labor shadow Minister for Women Trish Doyle in parliament on Wednesday.
She claimed she’d been contacted by a sex worker 18 months ago who said she’d been raped in the Blue Mountains.
“It was an arrangement for oral sex only,” Doyle said.
“She tells me that she made herself clear that she was not willing to have penetrative sex with him.”
Johnsen’s statement said: “I am devastated by these allegations.
“I have voluntarily spoken with NSW police and I have and will continue to fully cooperate with their enquiries.
“Without admission, I have chosen to step aside from my Parliamentary Secretary role, and will not sit in the Nationals Party Room nor the Joint Party Room.
“I will be taking leave effective immediately for a short duration.
“As the matter is with the NSW Police I will make no further public comment.”