A Canadian Senator accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenager is resigning, according to a letter released by the senator on Tuesday afternoon.
The news came as his colleagues considered a recommendation from the Senate’s ethics committee that he be expelled, which hasn’t happened in the history of the upper chamber.
“The path of expulsion now being considered by my colleagues will have major implications for the Senate of Canada.”
“After consulting with my family, community leaders, and my Counsel over the past several weeks, I have decided to move forward with my life with the full support of my wife and children,” Meredith said in a letter to the Senate. “I am blessed to have had their unconditional love and support throughout this ordeal. It is my hope that my absence from the Senate will allow the Senators to focus their good work on behalf of all Canadians.”
“The path of expulsion now being considered by my colleagues will have major implications for the Senate of Canada,” he said. “This is a constitutional fight in which I will not engage.”
Until now, Meredith had refused to step down, despite repeated calls from inside the Senate. A five-member ethics committee recommended last week that Meredith be kicked out as his conduct showed he “is unfit to serve as senator.”
The Pentacostal minister-turned Senator had initiated a two-year-long relationship with a young woman, knowing she was only 16 years old at the time.
In March, the Senate’s ethics officer Lyse Ricard issued a report, in which she found the Pentacostal minister-turned Senator had initiated a two-year-long relationship with a young woman, knowing she was only 16 years old at the time.
Meredith had sent the woman explicit messages online and had had sexual encounters with her three times — once before she turned 18, said the report.
Ricard also found Meredith “drew upon the weight, prestige and notability of the office of senator, and his relative position of power in his official capacities and as a much older adult to ‘lure or attract’ the teenage girl who was in a vulnerable position by virtue of her age.”
Meredith is still facing two other ethics investigations — one into allegations of workplace harassment and another for including a business partner in a delegation to the Caribbean in 2015.