A former LGBT activist has been convicted of raping four migrants during his work as a member of Sweden’s largest LGBT organisation, RFSL.
The 56-year-old man was found guilty by the Stockholm District Court of raping four men and exposing two of them to sexual harassment, according to Euronews. The court sentenced the man – who worked as a migrant consultant for RFSL – to four years in prison. He must also pay damages to his victims.
The court said all the crimes took place between October 2018 and October 2019. It said in a statement: “The victims had all turned to the migrant consultant with the hope of getting help in their asylum process.
“They have either been asylum seekers, undocumented, awaiting execution or worked under a temporary work permit.”
In a statement, RFSL welcomed the ruling and urged those affected to seek redress. RFSL’s president Deidre Palacios said the organisation now has a “lot of work to do to make sure this does not happen again”.
In February, the man in question was put in custody under the suspicion of several sec crimes that happened on RFSL Stockholm’s premises. Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) said the man had worked in the location since the 1990s, and he worked in a role that offered “activities, information and counselling” for LGBT+ asylum seekers.
Several victims said they were scared that the man would ruin their chances of getting asylum if they refused him. During the police investigation, the victims said they had contacted the counsellor because they had been told they would have faster handling of their asylum cases if they worked with the man.
SvD reported the man was fired from his role at RFSL in “spring” 2020.
In a statement to PinkNews at the time, Jacob Tardell, chairman of RFSL Stockholm, made an official apology to the victims, who he said were the “subjects of horrific abuse”. Tardell said RFSL Stockholm conducted an internal investigation in the autumn of 2019, but “it is clear that it was not good enough”.
He added the organisation didn’t report the abuse to the police because they wanted to protect the victims, who were then living in Sweden without documents. But he said it was only until a second internal investigation occurred in the spring of 2020, that RFSL Stockholm began to understand the scope of the abuse.
“With the results in hand, we can state that we lost six months. That is on us,” Tardell said.