Polish politician sentenced in sex scandal

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Monday, May 19, 2008

A court in the central Polish city of Łódź on May 19 sentenced the first of three politicians accused in the sex-for-jobs scandal that helped bring down Poland’s last coalition government. The verdict signals that there may be trouble ahead for two of the party’s leaders who are also on trial.

Samoobrona (Self-Defence) rural protest party official Jacek Popecki was sentenced to 28 months in jail for giving a woman, who had accused his party’s boss of fathering her child, drugs to induce a miscarriage.

In late 2006, Aneta Krawczyk accused the party’s leader Andrzej Lepper of having offered her political favours for sex in 2001, and then said he had been the father of her youngest child. She said the same of Lepper’s close collaborator and MP, Stanisław Łyżwiński, and accused him of rape and sexual abuse. She also said that Popecki, who had been Łyżwiński’s aide, had tried to induce a miscarriage by giving her a labour-inducing drug called oxytocin.

Lepper and Łyżwiński both face up to eight and ten years in jail respectively if convicted on charges of extorting "favours of a sexual nature". Prosecutors had sought a four-year sentence for Popecki.

“The evidence given by [Krawczyk], which is largely backed up by testimony from two witnesses and phone bills as well as the behaviour of the accused after these events, points to [Popecki’s] guilt,” the court said on Monday.

Krawczyk's early testimony suffered when DNA tests showed that neither Lepper nor Łyżwiński had fathered her child. However, prosecutors had enough evidence from other women to push on with the investigation in what became known as the “sex for work” scandal.