Ashby accused of relationship with minors
The sexual harassment case against federal parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper has taken another twist, with explosive allegations aired overnight on national television that his accuser James Ashby was sexually involved with two underage boys a decade ago.
The claims aired by ABC TV’s 7.30 program are currently being assessed by Queensland Police after Slipper passed on a number of documents sent to him by a man now aged in his mid-20s who has said he was in a sexual relationship with Ashby in 2003 when he was 15.
About that time, Ashby (pictured) had moved to Townsville from Newcastle, NSW following his firing from a local radio station and criminal convictions for stalking a former broadcasting rival.
The ABC last night reported the man was moved to email Slipper earlier this year after seeing the publicity surrounding the sexual harassment case against him. Slipper forwarded on the documents to Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson on June 26 having advised the man to make an official complaint.
In one of the emails, the man said he met Ashby through a mutual friend and that eventually “James left me feeling used and disgusted with myself”.
“In 2003 I met James Ashby through a mutual friend. He was working for a radio station and in the process of moving to Townsville.
“We began a sexual relationship which lasted for a few weeks before James broke it off as he had started a relationship with another person which lasted two or three years,” the email stated.
“I was 15 at the time, however what we did under Queensland law cannot be consented to under the age of 18. The guy James broke it off for was also 15 at the time they began their relationship.”
According to 7.30, Ashby and the man were still in correspondence via social networking sites even as he prepared to take on a position as Slipper’s media adviser last December.
“I really never gave an explanation behind me f***ing off and not saying why,” Ashby wrote to the man on Facebook.
“Strangely enough, the reason was so pathetic but I thought I’d share it with you. Your mum freaked me out when she walked in on you and me in bed. That did my head in for some strange reason.”
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan today said the allegations against Ashby were “extremely serious and should be investigated”.
A Queensland Police spokesperson confirmed to the ABC it was in the early stages of determining whether any charges would be laid.
“The Queensland Police Service is in the process of determining whether any person authorised to do so wishes to make a complaint and if that is the case whether there is the evidence to support any prosecution,” the spokesperson said.
“We will advise in due course the outcome of that investigation.”
The court case involving Slipper and Ashby began in April and has already heard of a number of sexually charged text-message conversations involving both men.