An ABC journalist says NSW Labor leader Luke Foley put his hands down her underpants during a parliamentary staff Christmas party nearly two years ago.
In an explosive statement issued on Thursday, Ashleigh Raper said she wanted to "set the record straight" about an incident involving Mr Foley in Sydney's CBD in November 2016 that had been the source of widespread speculation.
Ms Raper said Mr Foley called her on Sunday to apologise, telling her: "I'm not a philanderer, I'm not a groper, I'm just a drunk idiot".
He told her he would resign as leader of the NSW Labor Party either on Monday or Wednesday.
However, he backtracked on Tuesday, calling her to say he won't be resigning based on legal advice.
The reporter said the "time has come for my voice to be heard" and wanted the political point scoring and speculation to stop, so she could get on with her life.
She confirmed the incident Mr Foley happened at a bar in Martin Place following a Christmas function involving politicians, their staff and journalists at Parliament House, when he approached her and others to say goodnight.
"He stood next to me. He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants. He rested his hand on my buttocks. I completely froze," she said.
She said the incident was witnessed by another journalist, but she did not make a complaint for a number of reasons - including for fear of losing her job and the negative impact it would have on her family.
But the matter resurfaced in October when Liberal minister David Elliott raised it in NSW parliament.
"The matter then became a state and federal political issue and resulted in intense media attention. This occurred without my involvement or consent."
Ms Raper said women "should be able to go about their professional lives and socialise without being subject to this sort of behaviour".
"And I want it to stop."
The ABC said it was "extremely unfortunate" that media and public pressure had caused Ms Raper to speak publicly on an issue she didn't want to pursue or comment on.
"There is absolutely no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Ms Raper and her career should not be affected in any way," the public broadcaster said in a statement.
Mr Foley's office has been contacted for comment.
STATEMENT BY THE ABC
In response to media reports and comments made in the NSW and federal parliaments about an incident in November 2016 involving an ABC journalist and the NSW Leader of the Opposition, Mr Luke Foley, the ABC makes the following statement.
The ABC’s first priority is and always has been the welfare of our employee, journalist Ashleigh Raper. ABC management first became aware of the matter following media enquiries in April this year. At this time ABC management spoke with Ms Raper, who made it clear she did not wish to make a formal complaint or take any action and wished the matter to remain confidential. The ABC respected her wishes but took all steps to ensure Ms Raper received complete management support.
In February 2018, Ms Raper asked to be reassigned from State Parliament to general reporting shifts for reasons unrelated to the incident and before media enquiries were received. There has been no change to the work assignments given to Ms Raper. There is absolutely no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Ms Raper and her career should not be affected in any way.
Ms Raper has today decided to issue a personal statement, which can be read below.
This is the only comment on this matter she and the ABC wish to make.
The ABC considers it extremely unfortunate that media and public pressure has been applied to Ms Raper during these past months and caused her to speak publicly on an issue she did not wish to pursue or to comment on.