Rene Hidding is facing civil action over historic accusations he sexually molested a teenage girl.
Rene Hidding is facing civil action over historic accusations he sexually molested a teenage girl.

Ex-Liberal leader and police minister faces sex abuse claim

FORMER Liberal party leader Rene Hidding is facing civil action over accusations he sexually molested a teenage girl who lived with him in 1979.

In a civil statement of claim lodged with the Supreme Court of Tasmania on Wednesday, the now 56-year-old woman says she was "battered" by the former Police Minister over a six-month period at his Legana home.

Aged 14 to 15 at the time, the woman claims Mr Hidding - 26 at the time - sexually interfered with her almost daily and without her consent.

She says she now suffers post traumatic stress disorder, secondary borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder and alcohol use disorder as a result.

The woman also says that Mr Hidding visited her in Western Australia during 2013, admitting what he'd done and apologising.

"The defendant acted in contumelious disregard of the plaintiff's rights, in an insulting and high-handed way and with malice, and by so doing the defendant increased the plaintiff's suffering and injured the plaintiff's feelings by degrading and humiliating her," the statement of claim reads.

The woman is now seeking damages.

In September 2019, Tasmania Police announced it would not press criminal charges against Mr Hidding over an allegation of historical sexual abuse.

Mr Hidding, who resigned from parliament in February that year, had labelled the allegations "false and malicious".

At the time, he said the allegations were part of a wider, long-term bitter dispute and had never been raised by the woman before.

Mr Hidding, who will turn 68 on Friday, and his lawyer Evan Hughes, have been contacted for comment.

A defence statement has not yet been filed.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   


Originally published as Former Liberal leader facing child sex abuse claim