Danish Sex Abuse Scandal Escalates Within Ruling Party

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says she should have done more to crack down on sexual abuse within her Social Democrats as a wave of MeToo accusations inundates her party.

“No, I don’t think that I have,” Frederiksen told reporters gathered at the parliament in Copenhagen when asked whether she had done enough as party chairman to prevent such cases.

The prime minister was speaking as her foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, faced growing pressure to step down for having sex in 2008 with a 15-year-old member of the youth party whom Kofod had met earlier that year, when she was an intern in parliament, according to reports. Kofod was 34 years old at the time. The age of consent in Denmark is 15.

Kofod apologized and was stripped of his duties in several party committees at the time, but later went on to become the party’s main candidate for the European Parliament. New details about the incident have emerged in recent weeks, rocking a country that’s generally admired for its high standards of gender equality.

Frederiksen on Tuesday decided to stand by her foreign minister, saying he had already paid the price for his behavior.

“It was a mistake that was made years back,” she told reporters in parliament. “I do not want the party nor Denmark to develop into a place where you can’t make mistakes at some point in your life, apologize, experience the consequences” and move on.

The prime minister had much harsher words for Frank Jensen, another leading Social Democrat, saying he was right to resign as mayor of Copenhagen after admitting to harassing several women during his 30 years in politics.

The leader of the Social Liberals, Morten Ostergaard, stepped down earlier this month after trying to keep secret an episode in which he sexually harassed a younger female colleague several years ago.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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