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Women share suggestive DMs from Ottawa counсilman embroiled in harassment scandal; Twitter breach is to be blamed, his office says

Women share suggestive DMs from Ottawa counсilman embroiled in harassment scandal; Twitter breach is to be blamed, his office says
A member of the Ottawa City Council, who previously refused to resign after being accused of sexual harassment, claims his Twitter account was hacked to send lewd ‘sexcation’ propositions to random women.

Rick Chiarelli, a suspected sex pest, is again in trouble over allegedly targeting women online and seeking sexual favors in exchange for a free trip to Europe. The latest round of accusations against the already embattled politician was started by Chicago-based comedian Cassidy Kulhanek, who on Thursday shared chats that she had with Chiarelli’s account.

According to the screenshots, she was asked if she would like to go to Spain with Chiarelli in lieu of his regular staffers and go to topless beaches there. The trip would be free for her, while Chiarelli would pay out of his pocket and reimburse the expenses later, Kulhanek was told. “I want fun! Not just work,” one of the messages read.

The conversation took an unexpected turn when Chiarelli’s handle explained how he was previously accused of sexual harassment at work.

“A political rival got 6 women to allege I harassed them,” the message explained, adding that he was never accused of getting physical and that “it was primarily alleged I asked inappropriate questions or made inappropriate statements like asking to remove their bra.”

Kulhanek asked in response why somebody with such a record would deem it a good idea to make an offer that he did, mentioning topless beaches and vague expectations. The answer was that the comedian was not an employee of Chiarelli’s and that the proposition was “about doing business.”

“Anyway, if I offended you, I’m sorry,” the exchange went. “I guess I should have used other words as well.”

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The comedian described what she was offered as “a weird sexcation by a married politician from another country” and joked that “the worst thing about this for Rick is that he risked it all on a girl whose boobs are like, just okay.”

Speaking to Global News about the situation, she said she asked a Canadian friend about Chiarelli after being contacted by his account, learned from her about his alleged past misconduct and ran a sting against him.

“As a victim of harassment, I feel a responsibility to my fellow women in exposing things like this,” she told the news outlet.

Some other women responded to her post, sharing similar exchanges they had with Chiarelli’s account, some going back to August 19.

Chiarelli’s alleged inappropriate behavior in office came to light back in September 2019, when at least 13 women went public to accuse him of sexual misconduct toward female staffers and job applicants. The city's integrity commissioner investigated the allegations and released two damning reports in 2020, recommending penalties against the councilman.

The council asked Chiarelli to resign, which he refused to do, and voted to punish him by suspending his pay, taking him off all city committees and denying him the right to hire people.

Chiarelli denied all accusations against him and challenged them in court, applying for a judicial review. He argued the council was biased against him and claimed that the integrity commissioner didn’t have the authority to investigate him in the first place.

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His office’s response to the fresh allegations was to deny any responsibility. It claimed there had been a “breach” in access to Chiarelli’s Twitter account and that an analysis of lewd messages sent by it has “determined the writing pattern and poor grammar to be inconsistent with that of the councillor’s.” His office pointed out that he no longer incurs “travel related expenses” on the city budget and assured that he had no plans to travel anytime soon.

Chiarelli is a veteran politician in Ontario. He has held city council seats since 1988, governing Nepean, and later Ottawa, after Nepean was merged with the Canadian capital. Now in his late 50s, he is married to his high school sweetheart and has three daughters with her.

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