Why this story matters:
It all started on January 5, when a case of pedophilia was reported in Bucharest's Drumul Taberei neighborhood. Two kids, a girl and a boy aged 5 and 9 respectively, were sexually assaulted by a man in an elevator and at the 8th floor of a block of flats.
The image of the man, captured on surveillance cameras at the entrance of the building, was shared across media. The public called on the police to help identify the suspect.
Three days later, they announced that the suspect is in fact an officer from the Bucharest Traffic Police, named Eugen Stan.
He was taken into custody and subsequently detained for 30 days on the charge of sexually assaulting a minor. Prosecutors started to re-examine 15 similar unsolved cases, in which, they suspected, Stan might have been involved.
On January 11, the General Prosecutor’s Office took over Stan’s case. He faced three charges of sexually assaulting a minor as well as of sexual perversion. Additionally, the prosecutor took over a 2016 case filed against Stan by a female adult, who also accused him of sexual assault.
This is when suspicions that the case of Stan might have been covered up by the police first started to emerge.
Consequently, a controversy over who should be held responsible for the case arose in the ruling party PSD (Social Democratic Party). The interior minister, Carmen Dan, has called on the prime minister to fire the General Inspector of the Romanian Police, Bogdan Despescu. Tudose refused and suggested that Dan resigns instead. He accused her of lying to him earlier when she claimed she had a replacement for the police head.
Supported by PSD leader, Liviu Dragnea, Dan also refused to give up her position.
Yesterday evening, at the end of an all-day meeting of the National Executive Committee of PSD, it became clear that Tudose has lost the support of his party. He announced his resignation as Romania's Prime Minister.
Apart from the blatant violation of law by the police, this case is also an example of how Romanian dignitaries assign political positions based on personal loyalties. These power games are emblematic of a country ravaged by corruption.
Details from the story:
- According to a police report, the head of the city police and his deputy also offered their resignations.
- The story of the arrested pedophile policeman has shaken the Romanian Police Force. No less than 22 officers and heads of Police will be on criminal trials for either failing to or delaying the denunciation of Stan.
- On December 10, 2016, a woman filed a police complaint against Officer Eugen Stan. The same day, the police initiated a criminal prosecution for sexual assault. The Prosecutor's Office claims that the police agents working in the regional department, where the crime occurred, recommended to classify the case and disclose the fact that Stan was a policeman.
- Prosecutors will determine whether at any point the defendant was assisted by third parties.
- It is the second time a prime minister resigns since the December 2016 elections in Romania.