The man had reported the significantly older man for sexual harassment. The Vienna public prosecutor stopped investigating the politician – because of the statute of limitations, as Norbert Haslhofer, the 26-year-old’s defense attorney, said.
Subsequently, however, the 26-year-old was charged with defamation and false testimony. The same happened to a second young man who had accused the ÖVP politician of rape. The prosecution had discontinued these proceedings last year for reasons of evidence because, after considering the evidence, they saw no real reason for further prosecution of the accused, as Haslhofer explained. In addition to the 26-year-old, the second younger man also ended up in the dock for defamation.
Proceedings against co-accused adjourned
The case against the co-accused was dismissed by the judge and adjourned indefinitely. A psychiatric report is intended to explain the ability and testimony of this man, who in 2020 first reported to friends and a little later to the criminal police that he was allegedly stunned by the ÖVP politician after a party in 2017 with knockout drops and only closed again in his bed taken when he performed sexual acts on him.
The ÖVP politician had denied all allegations and confirmed this on Wednesday in a detailed testimony lasting several hours under the obligation to tell the truth. The local politician emphasized that there were consensual sexual contacts with both young men, but their statements were not true.
acquittal in case of doubt
The acquittal was in doubt, as the judge explained in the reasoning. He could not determine with the certainty required for criminal proceedings whether the sexual harassment had taken place or not. The accused 26-year-old “made a credible impression” and “presented himself impartially” in court. The politician was also credible. “I can’t say unequivocally that one is more credible than the other,” said the judge. The acquittal for the 26-year-old is not final. The prosecutor did not provide any explanation for the time being.
Met on dating platform
According to the 26-year-old, he had learned about the Viennese local politician through a gay dating platform. As a result, they arranged to meet, and there was once a sexual contact. There were no more later, “because he (the politician, note) is not his type,” as the 26-year-old’s legal representative explained in court. However, the significantly older man became extremely intrusive at another meeting in August 2017, exposed himself and asked his client to engage in sexual activity, after which he fled.
The local politician described it in court quite differently. He met the man on Facebook by congratulating him online on his 18th birthday. In 2016 he was invited to Tyrol by the much younger man, and it was “consensual sex”. At the next meeting, they “chatted happily and familiarly”, in August 2017 there was a “pleasant dinner” in a hotel. He had expected intimate contact in the hotel room, but there the young man made him understand “that he didn’t want anything more than tenderness. I accepted that,” said the witness. The alleged massive request for sexual acts did not happen.
Drugged and raped?
The ÖVP politician testified that he met the second young man who reported him for rape in 2021 in November 2016 during the election for “Mister Austria”. This led to “consensual sex”. From 2017, “an intimate sphere outside of partnership” with a “close friendship” developed with this man: “We kept the relationship discreet because I was in a relationship.” In the spring of 2019 there was a “big argument” and since then he has “blocked the young man on all channels”.
The claim that he drugged and raped this man in 2017 was a lie, the politician emphasized. Rather, he started working for him in the spring of 2018 and – after his own relationship had ended – moved in with him: “We did household chores together, ironed, he wore my clothes.”
“It was never a friendship at eye level”
The two young men are friends with each other – they are or were both involved in the Young ÖVP. The local politician derived the motives of the two from their friendship. They would have “supported each other to harm me”. After the complaint was filed against him, he “felt badly” and “feared that the word ‘rape’ would stick with me for the rest of my life”.
At the end of the hearing, however, defender Haslhofer pointed out that the two men would probably have entered into contacts with the ÖVP politician in order to draw attention to themselves within the party. “They wanted to get to the top. They wanted to use their contacts. It was never a friendship at eye level,” said Haslhofer. The ÖVP politician (“He could be her father”) took advantage of the power imbalance.
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