Jason Costigan shows media a selfie with the teenager.
Jason Costigan shows media a selfie with the teenager.

Costigan booted from LNP over harassment allegations

A TEENAGER at the centre of a harassment claim that is today expected to see Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan expelled from the LNP told her mother she clutched a duress alarm during her encounter with the politician.

The new details come as the party's disciplinary committee was last night handed another complaint relating to allegations Mr Costigan sent suggestive messages to a 19-year-old woman. These allegations are yet to be investigated.

The LNP State Executive will today meet to decide Mr Costigan's fate over the complaint relating to an 18-year-old woman, revealed by The Courier-Mail yesterday.

The extraordinary allegations made to the LNP include that the teenager was "intimidated" by a shirtless Costigan, and she was "traumatised by his revoltingness".

Jason Costigan shows media a selfie on his phone taken with the young woman at the centre of the harassment allegations made against him.
Jason Costigan shows media a selfie on his phone taken with the young woman at the centre of the harassment allegations made against him.

Mr Costigan is continuing to deny any wrongdoing and has sought legal advice to clear his name.

He is insisting his encounter with the 18-year-old woman at the centre of the original complaint was brief and friendly.

"It's a smearing of my name," Mr Costigan told a press conference in Mackay.

"I've done nothing wrong. There's been no misconduct and these are baseless allegations. I can look at you all in the eye and say it's utter crap.

"She was there for about half an hour or so and nothing bad happened, nothing sinister happened."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Evan Morgan
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Evan Morgan

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington defended the action taken against the MP.

"The complaint made against Mr Costigan is serious and it relates to his conduct towards a young woman while he was on holidays," she said.

"They (the LNP disputes committee) have found that Mr Costigan has breached sections of the party constitution that could bring the party into disrepute.

"I am not going to go into specifics of this case but as a mum of three girls, I can tell you it made my skin crawl. The allegations make me feel sick."

The Courier-Mail can reveal further details given to Ms Frecklington's office and the LNP by the woman's mother, including that her daughter had received a duress alarm for Christmas and was clutching it in her handbag as she spoke with Mr Costigan after being surprised by his presence at her grandparent's rural Victorian property. She alleged to the LNP that her daughter felt pressured to pose with the MP for selfies before he allegedly offered to pay to fly her to Hamilton Island with him.

 

Jason Costigan faced media in Mackay on Thursday to deny the harassment allegations.
Jason Costigan faced media in Mackay on Thursday to deny the harassment allegations.

 

She also alleges Mr Costigan asked the woman how old her grandmother and aunty were before stating they were too old for him and that he liked younger women.

While travelling, Mr Costigan had arranged to stay at the remote property via Facebook after contacting a family member he is friends with.

The teenager's mother told the LNP Mr Costigan phoned the grandparents at 10.30pm on the evening of Tuesday, January 22 to let them know he was still two hours' drive away.

The mother alleged the grandparents encouraged him to stay at a motel as they had already gone to bed. He eventually arrived at 1.30am.

The mother told the LNP the grandparents informed Mr Costigan they needed to leave at 7am and he allegedly told them he would be leaving early as well.

The teenager arrived at noon to discover Mr Costigan at the property shirtless.

During his press conference yesterday, Mr Costigan produced the selfie taken with the teenager to argue the allegations were "baseless".

 

Jason Costigan described the allegations as “baseless” and “utter crap”.
Jason Costigan described the allegations as “baseless” and “utter crap”.

 

"How many of you people know I love a selfie, love a photo? Put the old arm around. You all know that," Mr Costigan said.

"I'm going to show you a couple of pictures like that …

"She didn't look anything in terms of intimidation or concern or worry, nothing of the kind, nothing of the sort and I drove off thinking nothing of it. There she is, happy as Larry."

Ms Frecklington yesterday said she understood the family had made a statement to police.

A spokesman for Victoria Police would not confirm if a complaint had been made, and the family has declined to comment publicly.

Ms Frecklington last night slammed Mr Costigan for identifying the teenager by showing the selfie during the press conference.

"I have done everything possible to protect her identity, as requested by her family, while taking appropriate action against Mr Costigan," she said. "Mr Costigan's actions have callously added to the trauma she has already suffered and I implore the media not to identify her."

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad - who labelled Mr Costigan a creep and a sleazebag over a video he posted about World Bikini Day last year - yesterday said she commended the young woman and her family for coming forward.

"I called him a sleazebag at the time and I stand by those comments," she said.

Ms Trad alleged a number of people had contacted her office with stories about Mr Costigan after her comments.

Mr Costigan yesterday said he had been "inundated" by messages of support from former and current MPs "across the political divide".

"I've had people who have been flag bearers for Labor, our former candidates for the LNP, I've had sitting members … who are my teammates up until 6pm last night messaging me. The old boss won't like that will she," he said.



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