|George Lepp. (Julie Jocsak/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - He was punked and that ain't his junk.
Progressive Conservative candidate George Lepp says he was robbed by Anime hoodlums who pickpocketed his BlackBerry and then used it post graphic photos of someone else's penis on his Twitter feed.
"I am simply the victim of a crime," Lepp said in a statement Monday.
"My BlackBerry was stolen while I was in Toronto and obviously used to take and distribute this photo."
Lepp, a PC hopeful for the Niagara Falls, Ont., riding, maintained he was leaving a packed PC Party convention at the Toronto Congress Centre around 10:45 p.m. Saturday, when youngsters in Anime costumes from a neighbouring conference bumped and jostled him.
He believes the comic book fans plucked his cellphone from his jacket pocket without his knowledge, and he vigorously denied any suggestion that it was his penis that appeared in photos posted on his election campaign Twitter account.
"(The QMI Agency) report, also carried by other media outlets, gave the false impression that the photograph posted to my Twitter account was a photo of me," said Lepp. "The photo was not mine."
In an interview Sunday, PC Party spokesman Alan Sakach appeared to suggest Lepp could have taken a picture of himself inadvertently. Sakach denied on Monday that he made any such suggestion.
"Quite frankly, I don't know where this came from - it did not come from me, it did not come from George," Sakach added Monday. Lepp did not request a clarification about the story until Monday afternoon.
Despite the theft of his BlackBerry Saturday - and the alleged planting of pornographic images on his Twitter account - Lepp did not contact police, Sakach confirmed.
It was Lepp's son who noticed the obscene Tweet - a picture of a man's genitals - shortly after midnight on Sunday. He promptly removed the posting but was unable to reach his father's cellphone, Sakach said.
Lepp was staying at a Toronto hotel, he added, but wasn't contacted by his son until later Sunday.
The story has created unwanted attention for Lepp, following the Conservative convention on the weekend.
"I'm really concerned about this on a personal level for George. You have to imagine what it would be like if someone stole your BlackBerry and all of a sudden they're Twittering all this crap," Sakach said.
Questioned Monday, PC Leader Tim Hudak said he was aware of the differing versions of events.
"What we're saying is exactly the same thing as transpired - the BlackBerry was taken from Mr. Lepp," Hudak said.
"Someone played an unfortunate practical joke and we're going to move forward."