Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has apologized to Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale for suggesting he was a pedophile and accusing the reporter of spying on his children.
"To be clear, I never personally saw Mr. Dale peering over the fence or taking pictures," Ford said in council chambers on Tuesday.
Dale filed a notice of libel to Ford last week. In it, there was a timeline for the mayor to retract and apologize for comments he made during a VisionTV interview with Conrad Black.
In the interview, Ford said: "Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. He's taking pictures of little kids. I don't want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about."
On Tuesday, he claimed the unsaid word was not pedophile.
'Did not mean to suggest he is a pedophile'
"It's unfortunate the word I did not say has been ascribed to me by the media," Ford said. "I certainly did not mean to suggest he is a pedophile."
He said he trusted a report from a neighbour he has known for 15 years that there was someone "lurking" near his backyard. When he went to investigate, he found Dale near the fence of his backyard.
"I have no issue personally with Daniel Dale," said Ford, offering to apologize to Dale in person. He did go on to say he did have an issue with Dale's employer, the Toronto Star. Ford faults the paper for putting him and the reporter in the position he was in.
Dale had denounced Ford's account of their encounter as "categorically false."
There has yet to be a reply from VisionTV, which also received notice of a libel claim.