Former Swedish minister charged with sexual molestation

A former Swedish MP and minister faces charges of three cases of sexual molestation, according to Swedish media citing prosecutors.

Former Swedish minister charged with sexual molestation
Eskil Erlandsson pictured in 2017. Photo: Alexander Larsson Vierth / TT

Former rural affairs minister Eskil Erlandsson, of the Centre Party, resigned from parliament in March following groping allegations.

Four female MPs said that Erlandsson touched them without their consent during lunch and dinner meetings, prompting the Centre Party to ask for his resignation. Prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation the following week, and on Monday initiated prosecution proceedings, meaning the case will go to court.

“It applies to three incidents; three different women and three different events,” prosecutor Lena Kastlund told Expressen, which was first to report the news.

“Originally, it was about four different women, but one case was closed because the identity of the alleged victim was unclear.”

She said she thought the trial would begin in autumn, but that the court has not yet set a date. Erlandsson has denied the allegations. 

READ ALSO: How does Sweden's criminal justice system work?

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Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

Multiple political parties in Sweden's parliament want to ban so-called conversion therapy, which aims to change young LGBT+ individuals’ sexual orientation.

Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

The Liberals have campaigned for a ban for some time, and a motion has now been submitted to parliament by the Social Democrats. Now, the Moderates and the Centre Party are joining them in calling for conversion therapy to be made illegal, Sweden’s public broadcaster Radio Ekot reports.

“The entire idea is that homosexuality is an illness which can and should be treated. That is, obviously, completely incorrect and a very out-of-place view in a modern society,” Centre’s spokesperson on legal issues, Johan Hedin, told the radio.

Conversion therapy consists of subjecting LGBT+ individuals to pressure or force to hide their sexuality or gender identity. According to MUCF, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, it occurs “to a not insignificant extent” in Sweden.

“We think there should be a ban. Sweden should be a tolerant country, where nonsense like this quite simply shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Johan Forssell, the Moderate’s legal spokesperson told Radio Ekot.