Australian Speaker of the House Peter Slipper temporarily stepped down from his position on Sunday, reports said.
Slipper stepped down in light of sexual harassment allegations against him, which he denies.
“The allegations include both a claim of criminal behavior and a claim under civil law,” he said, according to The Australian newspaper. “As such, I believe it is appropriate for me to stand aside as Speaker while this criminal allegation is resolved.”
Slipper added that once the allegations are disproven, he would take the position again.
“In relation to the civil matter there will be an appropriate process that will resolve the matter in due course,” he said, according to the Australian Associated Press.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard noted that it is “appropriate that Mr. Slipper has stood aside as Speaker whilst alleged criminal conduct is investigated,” The Australian reported.
“It is also appropriate for all parties to note the processes under way and treat them with respect,” she added.