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2019.06.14 11:20

Former Lithuanian MP found guilty of sexually harassing his assistant

Jonas Kisielius, BNS 2019.06.14 11:20

The Court of Appeals of Lithuania found former MP Kęstutis Pūkas guilty of sexual harassment and a violation of gun possession rules.

Pūkas has said he plans to appeal.

The court found Pūkas guilty of sexual harassment against one woman, but acquitted him of harassing thee other women. He was given a fine of €1,500.

The court ruled that the first young woman was a victim of sexual harassment because she worked as Pūkas' assistant, whereas the three other accusers only applied to work for the former MP and therefore were not in the same dependent position.

“The court (…) concluded that a higher level of dependency was needed [to convict Pūkas of sexual harassment,” Judge Albinas Bielskis said.

Pūkas was also found guilty on a separate charge of violating gun possession rules. “Pukas had a gun, bragged about it and kept the key irresponsibly in a drawer,” the judge said.

Pūkas denies his guilt and plans to appeal. “I will appeal with the Supreme Court,” the former lawmakers told BNS Lithuania.

In March, the Vilnius Regional Court acquitted Pūkas of sexual harassment, saying the Penal Code article did not apply because the victims were not in a dependent position.

The prosecutor and the four accusers appealed the ruling.

The pre-trial investigation into Pūkas' alleged sexual harassment was launched in March 2017. It found that Pūkas, while serving as a member of parliament, could have sexually harassed people dependent on him for employment for several months.

Pūkas gave up his seat in the Seimas in January 2018, before a vote on stripping him of his mandate.

The Constitutional Court later ruled that Pūkas violated the Constitution, sexually harassing his assistants and female candidates for the position.