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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » March 5, 2008
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Politicians Face Charges in Sex Scandal
March 5, 2008   
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Andrzej Lepper and Stanisław Łyżwiński, two leading figures in the Samoobrona party, are to stand trial for sex offenses. Lepper is the party leader and a former deputy prime minister, while Łyżwiński is a former deputy leader of the party. Following an investigation lasting over a year, the district prosecutor's office in ŁódĽ, central Poland, sent an indictment to court Feb. 29. If convicted, Lepper faces a prison term of up to eight years and Łyżwiński up to 10 years. Neither man has admitted guilt. The investigation into the sex scandal surrounding Samoobrona started in December 2006 and more than 220 people have been interrogated.

The charges leveled against Lepper concern events that allegedly took place in 2001 and 2002. He is accused of demanding and accepting sexual favors from Aneta Krawczyk, a party activist employed at Łyżwiński's parliamentary office. Another charge concerns pressuring a woman into having sex with him. According to unofficial sources, the victim of that offense, which was allegedly committed in 2002, was the head of the Samoobrona youth organization in Lublin, eastern Poland.

Lepper said he regarded the indictment as a "political witch-hunt." The prosecutors leveled charges against him in November last year after the parliamentary election, when Lepper lost his seat and consequently lost his immunity from prosecution.

Several months earlier, parliament stripped Łyżwiński of his immunity so that the prosecutors could arrest him and bring charges. He is now accused of seven offenses. In autumn 2002, he allegedly raped a Samoobrona activist in his office in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, central Poland. He is also accused of demanding and accepting sexual favors and of sexually abusing or trying to sexually abuse four women, including Krawczyk. He allegedly threatened the women that they would lose their jobs in his office or in the party. Additionally, in December 2002, Łyżwiński allegedly pressured Krawczyk to have an illegal abortion.

In another development, charges related to sexual abuse were leveled Feb. 29 against Czesław Małkowski, mayor of Olsztyn, northeastern Poland. He was apprehended by police Feb. 28 on suspicion of abusing his female associates and raping one of them. The investigation is being conducted by prosecutors from the city of Białystok to ensure impartiality.
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