A married woman was sexually harassed by a lieutenant-colonel of the Hungarian Defence Forces. The man said that he wanted to have a sexual relationship with the woman and even set the date for it. The victim, who was the man’s colleague, reported the case after the harasser said he wanted to be involved with the woman’s daughter as well.
According to the harassed woman’s attorney, she informed the legal services, asked for help from psychologists, and reported the case to the commanders. After help was denied, the victim turned to the Central Chief Prosecution Office of Investigation and reported the lieutenant-colonel. As neither the harasser, nor the victim was relocated within their workplace, the woman went on sick leave.
An indignity proceeding was started against the lieutenant-colonel, but the newly appointed commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces, Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, stopped the proceeding.
According to 24.hu and hvg.hu, Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő said that if there are more people involved in the case, it is impossible to highlight just one person because the circumstances and the role of the lieutenant-colonel’s colleagues who knew about the harassment should be investigated as well. Commander Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi made a statement about zero tolerance in the army for harassers.
“My goal is not to solve the problem quickly, dismiss one or two colleagues, relocate one or two people, then nicely move on. This message has to be eliminated, and everyone in a uniform has to understand the moral norms we do not let go of!”
Taking all aspects into consideration, it is not clear why the indignity proceeding was terminated. This proceeding can only end if it has an outcome, which in the current situation would be to ascertain whether the lieutenant-colonel has dignity and is worthy of continuing his work or not.
The investigation conducted by the Hungarian Defence Forces is separate from the one conducted by the Central Chief Prosecution Office of Investigation. The latter is ongoing because of the victim’s report. This means that it is independent of the defence forces’ internal investigation.