Sovereign Hill board to open new sexual assault investigation

File photo.
File photo.

Sovereign Hill management will open a new investigation into sexual harassment claims exclusively reported by The Courier.

The museum’s board made the decision to launch a new investigation at an extraordinary board meeting on Thursday night.

In a statement, Sovereign Hill CEO Jeremy Johnson said a number of the incidents reported by The Courier this week were not previously raised as part of the museum’s investigation.

The release said an independent and external investigation in 2017 into 12 claims of sexual harassment against a male employee resulted in two inappropriate comments being substantiated and the employee subsequently issued a first and final warning.

Sovereign Hill CEO Jeremy Johnson.

Sovereign Hill CEO Jeremy Johnson.

“A number of the accounts of specific acts of a sexual nature reported in The Courier were not previously raised as part of any investigation,” Mr Johnson said in the statement.

“As such, the board resolved unanimously that a thorough, independent investigation of those issues should take place as soon as possible, in the interest of all the parties concerned.

“Put simply, our organisation has been shocked by the claims made this week and we will work tirelessly to ensure we protect and promote fairness, respect and integrity at all levels of our great organisation.”

The newly-announced investigation by Sovereign Hill will take place in parallel with, but separate to, Victoria Police’s ongoing investigation into inappropriate behaviour. 

Sovereign Hill management said it would continue to cooperate with Victoria Police as required.

You can watch Mr Johnson’s press conference this week here.