A politician for the Sandnes chapter of the conservative Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) has been indicted following charges that he raped a 20-year-old man at his home in the west coast city south of Stavanger. The politician denies having had any physical contact with the plaintiff.
The alleged attack occurred three years ago, and the Frp politician was initially arrested last year. He has been on sick leave since, but Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on Wednesday that he was indicted last month.
The case is due for trial in Jæren tingrett (the local court) in October, after national elections are held in September. It’s the latest sex scandal to rock the Progress Party but isn’t believed to involve any other party members.
The politician, who in keeping with media tradition in Norway has not been publicly identified, was relieved of all his political roles at a City Council meeting in Sandnes on Tuesday. His defense attorney, Tor Inge Borgersen, told newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad that the politician was deeply troubled over the indictment.
Neither the party’s vice mayor of Sandnes, Pål Morten Borgli, nor the leader of the local Rogaland party chapter, Kari Raustein, wanted to comment on the indictment. “The police and the courts must decide what happens now,” Raustein told NRK. “Those of us in the party don’t want to pass any judgment.”