Just when they didn’t think things could get worse, leaders of the embattled Center Party (Senterpartiet, Sp) have confirmed they’ve received another complaint of sexual harassment. It emerged just as the party was reporting eight of its top male members to the police, in an effort to find out which one of them sent an obscene message to a former female party leader.
Newspaper Dagsavisen reported Thursday that the party had received another complaint, but party leaders wouldn’t say who has complained against whom, or how many party members are involved.
Party leaders also confirmed they have reported 10 men, eight of whom hold or have held high party positions, to the police after none of them would admit to sending a sexually explicit message to former leader Liv Signe Navarsete. The report was filed with police in Lærdal, the mountain community in the county of Sogn of Fjordane where Navarsete lives.
All of the men suspected of harassing her live in Trøndelag, including a deputy leader of the Center Party, Ola Borten Moe, who suspended himself from his post after claiming the suspicion and uncertainty churned up by the case made it impossible for him to do his job.
Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, who’s been criticized himself over how he’s handled the harassment, called the entire scandal “extremely unfortunate,” noting that it’s damaged the party’s reputation and ability to carry out its politics at present. He claimed that whoever sent the highly offensive message to Navarsete, which was clearly aimed at intimidating her, “should take responsibility for it.”
The police report also implies that the sexual harassment has been damaging to the party itself, and that it needs to resolve the situation in which it’s landed. Police inspector Ronny Iden told reporters that the case would be evaluated as quickly as possible.