An independent investigation has found former Melbourne city council lord mayor Robert Doyle sexually harassed two women.

The report tabled this week upholds allegations from two councillors, Tessa Sullivan, who resigned after making a complaint in September, and Cathy Oke.

It made several findings against Doyle: that he grabbed Ms Sullivan’s breast in a chauffeur-driven mayoral car, that he repeatedly stroked Ms Oke’s thigh at a council dinner, he tried to kiss Ms Oke in his office after a meeting.

“Each of these matters, which have found to have been established, occurred in the context of the lord mayor having consumed substantial amounts of red wine,” the report found.

“The investigators took into account Doyle’s strong denial of engaging in the alleged inappropriate conduct, but nevertheless concluded that they were satisfied the inappropriate conduct occurred.”

The council’s drug and alcohol policy is being reviewed.

Other allegations have been raised since the investigation began.

One of which is that Mr Doyle allegedly touched a woman repeatedly on her upper thigh under a table at a medical awards ceremony.

These allegations will be the subject of a second council report, yet to be published.

Mr Doyle’s wife, Emma Page-Campbell, has issued a statement on his behalf saying he denies all of the allegations made against him.

“In doing so, we note that only one of the eight initial allegations concerning Ms Sullivan has been upheld,” she said.

“This finding, however, is not accepted by Robert and, furthermore, is not corroborated by a witness who has been publicly reported as saying that the incident did not and could not have taken place.”

Ms Oke says government organisations including local government must “bring their heads out of the sand”.

“I know that power and powerful connections loom in this sorry saga,” she said.

“Women don’t speak out because we fear that if the wrong person is unwittingly spoken to, it could mean a leak, a breach of confidentiality, a breach of trust and ultimately information in the hands of the accused and their powerful networks.

“There is a responsibility on all of us to recognise where power lies and to foster a healthy workplace for everyone, aligned with the values that we all hold as important and that our community would expect.”