Foley did not take questions at the conference, which went for less than two minutes, but announced he would sue for defamation over the allegations.
“The first thing I’d like to say is that the allegations against me today made public by the ABC are false,” he said.
One senior Labor source believed Foley was “consumed by anger” on Thursday after the ABC published the allegations. A second source described the decision to sue for defamation as “unbelievable”.
“It comes as a shock to us,” he said.
Raper had reluctantly gone public three weeks after the matter was dragged into the public sphere by Liberal David Elliott to attack Labor in parliament.
“He stood next to me,” she said, in a statement published by the ABC. “He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants. He rested his hand on my buttocks.”
Within hours of Raper’s statement, moves were underway to remove Foley as leader, and replace him with Daley, the current deputy.
Labor expects to caucus and elect a new leader as soon as possible. One Labor source said Saturday afternoon had been locked in for the meeting.
Daley is not expected to face serious challenge as Foley’s replacement, sources say, though the situation was still fluid on Thursday afternoon.
Penny Sharpe, an MP from one of the party’s left factions, is tipped as the most likely deputy.
The shadow women’s minister, Jenny Aitchison, told Guardian Australia the allegations against Foley were shocking, and that it was right for him to stand aside.
“I feel very deeply saddened by the situation Ashleigh Raper has been placed in,” she said. “She is incredibly brave and I thank her for coming forward to tell her story in what have been extremely difficult circumstances.