10/20/2016 12:30 EDT

Quebec Liberals Investigate Sex Assault Allegation Against One Of Their Own

A woman claims a Liberal member of the legislature assaulted her.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters
Members of the National Assembly (MNA) hold a minute of silence during a tribute to late former Quebec's Premier Jacques Parizeau at the National Assembly in Quebec City, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

The Quebec Liberal government is reeling after an allegation of sexual assault against a male caucus member.

Premier Philippe Couillard said Thursday he's taking the matter seriously and has asked the party whip to launch an internal investigation to determine if the accusation is founded.

At a Universite Laval vigil Wednesday evening in support of victims of alleged sex crimes at a student residence, a young woman said she had been assaulted while working as a hostess at a Quebec City restaurant in the summer of 2014.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the woman wrote the alleged aggressor was a Liberal member of the legislature.

He was not named.

Police investigation went nowhere: claim

She wrote that the sitting politician allegedly blackmailed her to not pursue the complaint, but that she ended up filing one with police a year later.

The young woman said in the social media post the investigation went nowhere and she claimed she ultimately lost her job because the politician was an old friend of the restaurant owner.

She said she has been marked for life by the event — both physically and psychologically.

"My heart stopped when I heard her say this person sits in the national assembly."

— Nathalie Roy, Coalition for Quebec's Future

Quebec City police confirmed that a complaint was filed in the spring and that an investigation is ongoing.

Couillard told reporters the matter will be treated with the highest priority.

"This is a very delicate question,'' Couillard said. "I'm not the police, I'm not a judge, I'm not even a lawyer, but I just want to tell Quebecers that to me this is significant, not only significant, but crucially important for our society."

Nathalie Roy, a member of the Coalition for Quebec's Future, was in the crowd Wednesday night when the young woman spoke.

"My heart stopped when I heard her say this person sits in the national assembly," Roy said. "If a police officer tells you 'it's not worth it, he's stronger than you' — what she was saying yesterday, that's unacceptable."