Trudeau denies sexually assaulting reporter in 2000

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Premier Rob Ford on Thursday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a supporter of feminist causes, on Thursday conceded for the first time that he had apologised in 2000 to a woman who accused him of groping her but insisted he did not feel he had done anything wrong.

On Aug. 4, 2000, a then 28-year-old Trudeau was in Creston Valley, B.C.to participate in a festival when he allegedly had an improper physical interaction with a newspaper reporter who was covering the event.

The editorial, which wasn't signed, accused Mr. Trudeau of "groping" a young female reporter and said Mr. Trudeau had apologized for his behavior that day after learning the reporter was also writing for another newspaper with a larger circulation.

"Part of this awakening that we're having as a society, a long-awaited realization, is that it's not just one side of the story that matters".

The editorial said Trudeau had "apologized - a day late - for inappropriately "handling" the reporter while she was on assignment".

"I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way, but I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently", said Trudeau.

Trudeau denied acting "inappropriately" at the 2000 festival where the incident was said to have taken place.

He said it is possible the person who made the allegation perceived the interaction differently.

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The Trudeau family launched the campaign after his youngest brother, Michel, died in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in 1998. According to media reports, she has declined to speak publicly about the matter.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not respond directly when asked if he intends to open an investigation into the issue.

He said that if he apologized about the interaction - as the Creston editorial says he did - then "it would have been because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction that we had".

After calls for an independent investigation into the claim and opposition criticism of his initial response, Trudeau addressed the issue at length on Thursday. Like I said, I've been working very hard to try and piece it together.

"I'm sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward", the editorial said of Trudeau's apology. But I know that there is an bad lot of reflection to be had as we move forward, as a society, on how people perceive different interactions.

"I don't want to presume how she feels now".

He says neither he nor anyone on his team have reached out to the woman, saying to do so would be inappropriate.

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