Rita Theophanous, the wife of Victorian cabinet minister Theo Theophanous has come out swinging at dubious allegations of rape made against him.
Her story reveals many previously unknown facts about the accuser.
It even offers third party verifiable evidence that Theo was home on the night his accuser claims he was out with her. Back then he was Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council. He had a driver. The drivers maintain a logbook of where they go and when. The logbook records him being dropped off at home at 6pm.
And there’s much more, a chronicle of the accuser’s disturbed personal life and plan to “make millions” from her accusation.
As we’ve noted previously, in Greece, there has been a rash of high-profile sexual harassment lawsuits against celebrities and high-profile people. It’s clear where her motivation has come from.
Rita’s exposition is a damning indictment on a disturbed accuser, a person whose personal life has been deeply troubled and who appears motivated by greed and evil.
And while the accuser’s name is known to VEXNEWS and many media outlets, we are still restricted from naming her. The accuser, operating from a foreign nation, enjoys more legal protection than one of our most respected elected officials. On this question at least, the law is indeed an ass.
Across both sides of politics, there is deep concern about all of this. Concern by some about the allegation itself, it’s a serious one. Concern by many that if this bizarre process could be unleashed on Theo Theophanous, it could happen to anyone. A claim from ten years ago! A broken, greedy accuser with an active imagination and a full awareness of just how vulnerable politicians can be. Who’s next to be hung out to dry?
In Rita Theophanous’s anguished voice, here is the unvarnished truth of one of Victorian politics most disturbing episodes:
He remains in self-imposed exile, accused of a crime so awful that it is a struggle for me to fit inside my head that his name (and mine) is associated with it.
The events of a month ago have catapulted our family into a different reality. We have had to reach far beyond the tears and the pain, beyond the misinformation and the public redefinition of Theo and of who we are as a family.
My children are strong. They have never known a life outside of politics. They are strong in a way that only an acceptance of your vulnerability can make you.
But they are hurting. It is there, in the half-finished meals, the distracted sentences, and the laughter just a pitch too high.
This is not the legacy I would choose to leave them. It won’t be.
Our family is hurting.
My father gets up early and scans the papers for any news. He goes to bed late in case something has broken. He is 84.
My niece got asked to go to the country for a few days. She declined. She told her mother that Uncle Theo might need her to cheer him up. She is 13.
Our friends are hurting too. They cluster round offering words of comfort. They help us affirm who we are.
My decision to speak publicly has been a difficult one to make. I am a proud woman and do not easily share my pain. But it is time some things were said.
My aim is not simply to proclaim my husband’s innocence. Ultimately, that is for the investigation to determine, and the police must be allowed to do their job — methodically, thoroughly. It is rather to try and address an obvious injustice: in coming out publicly, Theo’s accuser has put in the public arena a particular scenario.
This scenario, because of the abhorrent nature of her allegations and the graphic detail in which they were expressed imprints a narrative in the public mind which is almost impossible to erase. Even if the investigation does not result in Theo being charged, my fear is that his innocence will always be doubted in many people’s minds.
I have therefore decided to put forward an alternative narrative that the public may consider based on what I know: I know this woman — not very well, but I know her. She was introduced by a mutual friend. Ten years ago, when she alleges this incident occurred, she was in her 30s.
She was an emergency teacher, and studied acting. I believe she had a number of social problems — with money, with work, with relationships — and that was the case well before the alleged incident.
She had a brother whom she lived with who was also mostly unemployed. She moved to Greece about six years ago. I believe they continue to live together, and that neither she nor her brother have had stable employment since.
I know that while in Australia she continued friendly social contact with Theo for several years after the time of the alleged incident, sometimes in my presence, sometimes alone, sometimes with other people, at both public events and over coffee. I believe that many independent witnesses have verified this.
I know that after the woman went to Greece she provided Theo with contact numbers so they could keep in touch. I know that she sent him greetings from Greece at Christmas and New Year as late as 2003, and talked to him on the phone about the problems she was having settling there.
She may have visited Parliament at some stage. There is nothing unusual in that. But on the night she alleges the incident occurred I believe Theo’s then driver insists he dropped Theo off at 6pm at home, and this is supported by his log book.
I also believe that in the years following the alleged incident, while she was in Melbourne, she had several relationships including with a man engaged to someone else. I believe she was shattered and bitter when he chose to marry his fiancee. I believe she tried desperately to continue the relationship. It was soon after that that she left for Greece.
I do not know why this woman is making these allegations against Theo. I do know that she contacted a mutual friend some 20 months ago and told her that she would “be in the papers” and make lots of money.
I also believe that among the first things she did was to contact selected people in the press, and litigation lawyers, rather than police. I have been told a close friend of her family has said those advising her in Greece right now have told her she stands to “make millions” through this. These are some of the things I know or believe to be true.
I think it is important others should be aware of them too in reaching their conclusions. This is because the woman has the protection of anonymity and lives in another country. She may never be held accountable if her allegations turn out to be false. My husband and my family cannot, however, hide from public exposure.
Theo’s solicitor has informed police of what we believe are important facts contained in this letter for them to independently verify.
We look forward to them being thoroughly investigated before police make any recommendation to the DPP, because the mere laying of charges leaves an indelible stain, even if someone is found innocent.
Finally, let me say that when I looked at what I believe to be the facts: this woman’s past experiences; the consistency in her behaviour before and after the alleged incident; her friendly messages and continued contact with Theo for years afterwards, and; the priority given to
litigation lawyers when she finally decided to make her allegations, and I can only conclude that her story is a fabrication.
It makes me sad for my family and angry at the impact this will have for the genuine victims of such crimes.