Today, a conviction was handed down, with the penalty of imprisonment for four years, against a former employee at RFSL Stockholm.
RFSL’s president Deidre Palacios comments:
– The most important thing is that the victims of this abuse now obtain redress. RFSL has a lot of work to do to make sure this does not happen again.
Very serious allegations about abuse, and rape, were made in 2019 and 2020 against a former employee at RFSL Stockholm. When the first allegation came in 2019, RFSL Stockholm started an internal investigation immediately. Former management of RFSL Stockholm assessed that the investigation did not provide enough evidence for taking action against the former employee. RFSL Stockholm later concluded that the internal investigation and the measures taken had been insufficient.
RFSL Stockholm’s former management did not want to act externally or file a police report against the victim’s will. At the time, the victim was not willing to file a police report because, among other things, they were undocumented. Whether this was a correct way of handling the situation will be further investigated by RFSL and relevant guidelines will be clarified.
When RFSL Stockholm received more information in 2020 and the victim was ready to move forward with the police report, an external investigation involving specialised experts was started, and the external investigator was tasked with helping the victim file a police report.
The employee was suspended during the external investigation. After the investigation report had been submitted, RFSL Stockholm chose to immediately dismiss the employee in question. All the materials pertaining to the inquiry conducted by RFSL Stockholm were handed over to the police to aid in the criminal investigation.
On March 10 2021 prosecution was commenced. The prosecutor believes that the men were in an especially vulnerable position, which will be the core issue in the trial. The trial started on March 23 and the accused pleads not guilty and claims consent. During the week of the trial it was revealed that a new police investigation had started concerning six additional victims.
RFSL and RFSL Stockholm have welcomed the legal process and want the victims of sexual abuse to obtain redress. No perpetrator should be able to use RFSL’s operations to abuse people in a vulnerable position.
RFSL and RFSL Stockholm continue to review routines, guidelines and educational material for their employees, volunteers and trustees. All RFSL’s operations must be safe, continually evolving and quality assured through systematic work. RFSL has important work ahead to strengthen and regain trust and keep developing control, routines, quality assurance and follow-up of operations of the national office and RFSL’s branches.
RFSL and RFSL Stockholm condemn all forms of abuse. RFSL is an organisation built on values, of protecting and supporting LGBTQI people subjected to violence, threats and hate. If someone involuntarily, or because of dependency, takes part in or is subjected to sexual acts this is abuse and an expression of power, not sexuality. Sexual acts that cause a person harm or suffering can never be accepted.
How RFSL is organised
RFSL is a national organisation with 36 independent branches. Each branch forms a separate legal entity, the board of the branch is the employer of its employees and the branch is responsible for conducting its operation according to RFSL’s statutes, values and guidelines. Each branch has an annual meeting in the spring where they elect their board. The branches send representatives to the national office’s congress every other year to elect its board. The board of trustees has the national office at its disposal.
RFSL’s current routines
RFSL has established a whistle blower system and common rules against discrimination, unequal treatment and harassment and regularly works with quality assurance.
Code of conduct for trustees