Robert Doyle has quit as Melbourne Lord Mayor as he fights allegations of sexual harassment.Robert Doyle has quit as Melbourne Lord Mayor and is in hospital after being driven to the brink over sexual harassment and indecent assault allegations, his family says.
A by-election will need to be held after Mr Doyle quit the City of Melbourne on Sunday night.
His resignation comes after being admitted to hospital “on the brink of being broken”, his wife Emma Page Campbell said.
“He is a good and decent man. I love him. And because I love him, to watch and share what he has been through in the last seven weeks has been agony,” she said in a statement.
Mr Doyle also quit as the chairman of Melbourne Health and continues to strenuously deny the allegations.
“I am disappointed that Robert has been given no benefit of the presumption of innocence – a resort to foregone conclusions, and with none of the protections afforded even to those accused of the most horrible crimes,” Ms Page Campbell said.
Mr Doyle, 64, was in December hit by claims of sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct, and stepped aside as mayor while Ian Freckleton QC launched an investigation.
Former Melbourne councillor Tessa Sullivan quit over alleged inappropriate behaviour by Mr Doyle against her and another woman.
A third woman in January claimed Mr Doyle touched her leg under a table and made offensive remarks to her at a Melbourne Health awards ceremony in 2016.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to commission a separate independent investigation into the allegations.
Mr Doyle on Friday revealed he was suffering from stress-related “serious ill health”.
K&L Gates partner Nick Ruskin said the toll the allegations had taken on his client “cannot be underestimated”.
“Following allegations seven weeks ago, he has been through a period which he feels has lacked any semblance of natural justice, where the burden of proof does not rest with proving guilt, but rather with proving innocence,” Mr Ruskin said.
The City of Melbourne found out about Mr Doyle’s resignation via media reports.
“We will progress the conclusion of the investigation as quickly as possible and ensure the facts become known to all parties,” it said in a statement.
Councillors will still discuss the Freckleton investigation at a meeting on Tuesday.
The Victorian government acknowledged Mr Doyle’s resignation but said it would be inappropriate to comment amid the ongoing investigations.
“The Victorian Electoral Commission will conduct a by-election to fill the vacant position of Lord Mayor,” a spokesman said.