High-Ranking Ministry Official Arrested for Sexual Harassment

By 7 January 2019

A high-ranking official from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure has been arrested for sexual harassment committed at work. According to unofficial information, the person in question was until recently the head of one of the departments in the ministry. On December 20, he allegedly assaulted a low-ranking employee of the Ministry and began to touch her inappropriately, reports Jutarnji List on January 7, 2019.

The shocked woman quickly informed the Zagreb police department, who arrested him and charged him with intimidating behaviour, threats and sexual harassment. Police officers allegedly came to pick him up at the ministry building and took him to a police station for questioning.

“We can only confirm that, on 20 December, one male person with the described allegations was taken to the detention centre,” said the Zagreb Police Administration. The suspect was later questioned at the Municipal State Attorney's Office.

When asked about the event, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure issued the following reply: “According to the information we have, one of the heads of services of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure was taken to remand prison. As a result of the information we have received, we have sent to the Municipal State Attorney's Office a request for their statement, a question whether an investigation procedure has been launched against a civil servant so that we can proceed further in accordance with the Civil Servants Act and initiate appropriate procedures. Due to the personal data protection rules, we are not able to provide more detailed information except that the person has been an employee of the Ministry for the past 9-10 years.”

The abuser is expected to be removed from his duties if it is determined that he has actually committed what is being alleged.

It is interesting that the Official Code of Civil Servants, issued by the government on March 25, 2011, is highlighted prominently on the official webpage of the Ministry, stating: “Civil servants have the right to be protected against sexual harassment or behaviour that represents verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which is intended to be a violation of the dignity of officials and employees and cause fear, hostility, humiliation or offence.”

The crime in question can be punished with up to one year in prison.

More news on the ministry can be found in our Politics section.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Krešimir Žabec, Marin Dešković, Dijana Puhalo).