Woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Liberal MNA speaks out

The woman who spoke out about an alleged sexual assault at the hands of former Liberal MNA Gerry Sklavounos says she wants to see society stop protecting sexual aggressors.

Alice Paquet says she was discouraged from holding Gerry Sklavounos accountable because of his position

Alice Paquet says she hopes to encourage others to speak out against sexual assault. (Radio-Canada)

Alice Paquet was warned about the backlash she would face if she went public with allegations a prominent Quebec politician sexually assaulted her.

But in an interview with Radio-Canada, Paquet said she decided to speak out anyway because she wants MNA Gerry Sklavounos to face consequences for his alleged actions.  

Sklavounos was asked to leave the Liberal caucus on Thursday after Paquet's allegations were first revealed.

Paquet said the assault happened in 2014, while she was working as a restaurant hostess. She said the people around her discouraged her from coming forward at the time.

"They told me, 'He's an MNA. A former lawyer. He knows how to defend himself. You're just a student,'" Paquet said.

But she said she couldn't stand that he kept living his life as if the incident had never happened.

"He sexually assaulted me. It's his career, but is his career worth more than what I lived through? That's the question I asked myself, and [the answer is] no," Paquet said. 

The allegations have not been proven and Sklavounos does not face any charges. 

At all times in a sexual encounter we should feel ... free to stop, and not be blamed for it- Alleged sexual assault victim Alice Paquet

He resigned from the Liberal caucus Thursday. CBC and Radio-Canada have tried multiple times to contact Sklavounos, without success.

However, in an interview with the Journal de Montréal he said he is completely innocent and has never in his life sexually assaulted anyone.

Quebec City police have confirmed an investigation is ongoing. 
Gerry Sklavounos is the Liberal MNA for Laurier-Dorion. (Quebec Liberal Party)

'A kiss is not a contract'

Paquet says she met Sklavounos when she was working in a restaurant.

He was there with other politicians.

She says he came to see her and asked what she thought of something they had been discussing. She told him she didn't want to discuss politics at work.

She says he asked if she wanted to have a drink with him and she thought it would be interesting to talk to an MNA, so she agreed.

She says she found him attractive and agreed to go to his room.

"Up to a point I consented," Paquet said.

"But a kiss isn't a contract. An embrace isn't a contract."

When Radio-Canada journalist Anne-Marie Dussault asked Paquet if she said "no," Paquet replied, "I never said 'yes.'"

It's a point she made in a Facebook post about the incident, which was later deleted.

In the post she wrote, "No, I'm not sure I said 'No.' But without 'yes' it's 'no.' I was scared, and at all times in a sexual encounter we should feel totally comfortable. Free to stop, and not be blamed for it either."

She said after the first time they met up, she went to see him a second time and was sexually assaulted again.

"I was really confused," she said. "I went back, I'm not sure what I was expecting."

Encouraged to keep quiet

In the Facebook post, Paquet said when she went to police about a year after the alleged assault, the investigation didn't go anywhere.

During the interview, she said she didn't mean police didn't do enough to help her but that the people in her life were telling her not to speak out.

"Now my loved ones are there for me, but when they first found out, the reaction was, 'What are we going to look like if you go public, do you understand the impact it will have?'" she said.

After she went to police, she didn't feel like she'd be able to handle the investigation on top of being a student and working, so she didn't pursue it, she said.

However, she said she now plans to move forward with the investigation and meet with police.

Paquet said she hoped that by taking the microphone at Laval University in Quebec City Wednesday during a vigil she would be encouraging others to come forward.

She said she has overcome what happened with the help of a psychologist.

Alice Paquet says she was sexually assaulted by a Quebec Liberal MNA when she was working as a restaurant hostess in Quebec City in 2014. 1:15

with files from Radio-Canada