Millionaire businessman Sir Owen Glenn has withdrawn his nomination to become an ambassador for anti-violence campaigners White Ribbon after revelations he was accused of physically abusing a young woman in Hawaii in 2002.
White Ribbon committee chairman Peter Boshier said following the "very public scrutiny over Sir Owen Glenn's nomination, and the omission of certain facts that should have been presented to the White Ribbon Committee, I have received a letter from Sir Owen Glenn advising that he has withdrawn his nomination as a White Ribbon Ambassador".
Court documents show Glenn offered a plea of no contest when the case came before the courts in 2003. That means the charge was not contested or admitted. Glenn was put on probation and the charge was dismissed in 2004 when the probationary period ended.
Boshier said Glenn maintained his declaration on the application form was true and correct.
"In his letter he explains that the media coverage is '...nothing but a distraction from the important work both White Ribbon and the Glenn Inquiry are doing in relation to child abuse and domestic violence in New Zealand.'"
Prime Minister John Key said Glenn's withdrawal was likely the result of the businessman realising his bid would fail.
"I don't think you can read too much into it other than obviously he was reading the tea leaves from Peter Boshier and he made the decision that he believes is the right one. Fair enough for him," he said.
"I can't talk about his past because I simply don't know as I said yesterday but I'm not surprised he's stepped aside."
Glenn has said there was no truth to the abuse allegation.
He said in a statement at the weekend: "My regret now is that I didn't take the matter to court, however after two years of dispute in the American court system and at the strong advice of my American lawyer I resolved the case in Hawaii to avoid further horrendous court costs, and to bring the matter to an end on an agreed basis which resulted in an order of dismissal.
"It saddens me that yet again it appears the New Zealand media is delving into my personal life to fill their pages while New Zealand is ranked the third-highest country in the world for rape and this issue goes virtually unreported."
Boshier said White Ribbon asks men to never commit, condone or remain silent about men's violence towards women.
"As part of the campaign men are nominated as White Ribbon Ambassadors to help influence other men by changing attitudes and behaviour.
"These nominees must also sign a statement that they are living violence-free lives, disclose any previous convictions for violent or abusive behaviour, and declare that nothing in their past or current personal life would damage the credibility of the campaign."
In his statement, Glenn defended his decision not to tell White Ribbon of the charge, saying he had no history of violence towards women.
"Within the past 12 months I have signed two declarations, which I stand by, that state I am living violence-free and that I have no history of violence towards women or children. These declarations are accurate in all respects."
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