BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Former Swedish LGBT activist convicted of raping and sexually assualting migrants

Access to the comments Comments
By Matthew Holroyd
The man had worked as a consultant on how migrants could obtain asylum based on their sexual orientation.
The man had worked as a consultant on how migrants could obtain asylum based on their sexual orientation.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Annika AF Klercker, TT News Agency
Text size Aa Aa

A former Swedish LGBT activist has been convicted of raping four migrants during his work.

The 56-year-old man was a member of Sweden's largest LGBT organisation, RFSL, where he allegedly helped migrants obtain asylum on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

In April 2020, he was accused of raping four men and exposing two of them to sexual harassment in his office.

He was found guilty by the Stockholm District Court and sentenced to four years in prison. He must also pay damages to the victims.

The crimes all took place between October 2018 and October 2019, the court said.

"The victims had all turned to the migrant consultant with the hope of getting help in their asylum processes," the court said in a statement.

"They have either been asylum seekers, undocumented, awaiting execution, or worked under a temporary work permit."

The court found that the migrants were in a "particularly vulnerable situation" when they approached the consultant, who had abused his power. Police are now investigating six more potential victims.

In a statement, the RFSL welcomed the decision and urged those affected to seek redress.

"No perpetrator should be able to use RFSL’s operations to abuse people in a vulnerable position," the organisation said.

RFSL said their Stockholm branch had immediately launched an internal investigation when the first allegations of sexual assault were made against their former employee.

But the organisation acknowledged that the initial probe had been "insufficient" and had not provided enough evidence to take action.

"At the time, the victim was not willing to file a police report because, among other things, they were undocumented," RFSL said.

But when more accusations surfaced and victims were ready to file a police report, the employee was dismissed. RFSL said they are continuing to review routines and guidelines for their employees, volunteers, and trustees.

"All RFSL’s operations must be safe, continually evolving and quality assured through systematic work," the organisation said.

"RFSL is an organisation built on values, of protecting and supporting LGBTQI people subjected to violence, threats, and hate. Sexual acts that cause a person harm or suffering can never be accepted."

The LGBT group acknowledged they had "important work" ahead to regain the community's trust and reiterated their condemnation of "all forms of abuse".

"The most important thing is that the victims of this abuse now obtain redress," said RFSL’s president Deidre Palacios.

"RFSL has a lot of work to do to make sure this does not happen again."