Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Investigative panel planned for Tinoco's case

(A.M Costa Rica) - The legislative leadership will pick a three-person committee to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Federico Tinoco, a leading deputy of the Partido LiberaciĆ³n Nacional.

Francisco Antonio Pacheco, assembly president was to name the members of this panel today. They will not be current members of the legislature. They will take testimony and prepare a report for the leadership.

Tinoco is accused of verbally harassing and then planting an unwanted kiss on a married mother of four who was working in his office. She was fired after refusing his advances and hired by another lawmaker,she said.

The woman has not been named, but it is known that she is a 37-year-old lawyer who is not a professional politician.

The Tinoco case has been the major news story of the past week. He has taken a short leave of absence from his legislative duties. He does not seem to have been given the benefit of the concept of innocent until proved guilty in the court of public opinion. Some women picketed the assembly Monday supporting the legislative aide.

Because he is a lawmaker, Tinoco has immunity from criminal charges. The allegations so far do not rise to the level of a crime, but he has been urged to surrender his immunity.

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