Former abuse probe head Dame Lowell Goddard rejects 'malicious' language claims
Dame Lowell Goddard has rejected claims she used racist language during her time as head of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse.
The New Zealand high court judge described allegations made in The Times as "falsities", "malicious" and part of a "vicious campaign".
The newspaper reported a number of claims made by what it said were "well-placed figures" at the inquiry's headquarters about her alleged conduct, including that she said Britain had so many paedophiles because it has so many Asian men.
In a statement Dame Lowell said she had consulted lawyers in London, adding: "I confirm my absolute rejection of this attack. I am confident that in New Zealand my known reputation from my work over many years will provide its own refutation of these falsities."
Dame Lowell resigned from the beleaguered inquiry, which has been plagued by problems since it was launched in 2014, in August.
At the time she called for the probe to be overhauled, saying "there is an inherent problem in the sheer scale and size".
Professor Alexis Jay replaced Dame Lowell as chair.
The probe - described as the most ambitious public inquiry ever in England and Wales - was earmarked to take five years, but there have been suggestions it could run for as long as a decade.
In her statement about the Times report, Dame Lowell said: "Nearly two years ago I stepped down as a New Zealand judge to answer the urgent request of the British government to chair its inquiry into child sex abuse. Subsequently, for reasons I have made public, I resigned and returned to New Zealand.
"Two days ago I was contacted by The Times and asked to respond to matters which it now says it obtained from 'figures' within the inquiry.
"I responded through my London lawyers, identifying the falsity of the matters raised, and the malicious background to them.
"The newspaper has today published articles about me and the inquiry, using some of those same matters in its attack.
"I reported to the Home Secretary and to the Parliamentary select committee on my resignation and my reasons for it.
"My major concern was to protect the inquiry and its work, and identify how the problems I encountered could be overcome."
Dame Lowell said that the conduct "of those involved has since come under scrutiny.
"This will give New Zealanders some insight into what I experienced.
"I await the advice of my London lawyers on these articles, which I have only just seen.
"I confirm my absolute rejection of this attack. I am confident that in New Zealand my known reputation from my work over many years will provide its own refutation of these falsities.
"I will be making no further statement and will not engage with those conducting this vicious campaign."