Following sexual assault allegations that were brought forward against Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, the Brampton city councillor and the city are currently being sued for at least $2 million in damages.
The allegations were brought forward in December 2019 when the Wards 9 and 10 councillor was accused of sexual misconduct during a trade mission to Turkey in November 2019.
While the woman’s identity remains protected at this time, the Brampton law firm representing her — Moon Rozier LPC — alleges that the evidence against Dhillon is overwhelming.
“Today, with the commencement of this civil action, our client took a huge step towards trying to reclaim her life and her emotional well-being after the brutalizing sexual assault she suffered at the hands of Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon in November, 2019,” the firm said in a recent statement.
Moon Rozier LPC commended the efforts of Muneeza Sheikh, Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner, who investigated the allegations and produced a report recommending several penalties for Dhillon, including the most severe penalty possible: suspension without pay.
“I wish to state that I am displeased that there is no avenue (at least insofar as it relates to my mandate and jurisdiction) that allows for Councillor Dhillon’s immediate removal from City Council,” said Sheikh in her report.
In addition to city council voting to suspend Dhillon without pay for 90 days, council unanimously passed a motion asking Councillor Dhillon to resign.
Dhillon, who currently does not intend to resign, denied the allegations against him in a statement on Facebook in December 2019.
Dhillon also criticized the investigation, which he called “tainted from the start.”
“As noted many times in today’s Council meeting, this investigation began without a formal complaint and has been tainted from the start. The numerous inconsistencies in the complainant’s story have never been reconciled, nor was I afforded due process,” Dhillon said in a statement.
However, Moon Rozier LPC alleges that Dhillon had no intention of cooperating in the investigation, saying “there was nothing the Integrity Commissioner could say or do that could prompt Councillor Dhillon to answer her questions.”
“In these civil proceedings, Councillor Dhillon’s evasive antics will come to an end. His day of reckoning is coming,” said the law firm.
“At some point, we will have him alone in a witness box; where he – not his lawyers, will be called to account on what he has spent so much time, money and energy trying to avoid. Even if he refuses to admit to the obvious, the public will know what Councillor Dhillon has done: He leveraged his position of power as an elected official to manipulate, intimidate, overpower, forcibly confine and then sexually brutalize a young woman,” the firm alleged.
The firm also called on Peel Police to put in place a reporting line so any other potential victims could come forward.
Mayor Patrick Brown commented on the allegations against Dhillon in a recent interview.
“We want to create an environment that is a safe space for women, and I can tell you council was disappointed and angry about what transpired,” Brown said.
In the event that Dhillon does resign, Brown said a by-election would likely be held to fill Dhillon’s position.
More information to come as the situation develops.