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Ministers are at odds over police reshuffle, amid allegations that superiors turned a blind eye to suspect’s behavior.12 January 2018
The scandal started when a man suspected of sexually abusing two children last week in Bucharest was apprehended, according to The Associated Press. It soon emerged that the alleged offender, identified as Eugen Stan, had been working as a traffic policemen.
The case has brought to light the corrupt culture that has been plaguing the Romanian police for years, writes journalist Eduard Pascu for Cotidianul.ro, pointing to suspicions that Stan’s bosses must have been aware of his behavior and covering it up.
“It’s scandalous that Stan committed such abuses against children without anybody excluding him from the police,” Pascu wrote, noting that, after the recent scandal, Stan has become a suspect in 15 sexual abuse cases involving minors that have taken place since 2009. So far, Stan had admitted guilt for both the incident last week, and for raping a seven-year-old girl in 2012, AFP has reported.
Stan’s superior Rene Vornicu has been sacked, according to a press release from the Romanian police, cited by Mediafax.ro, which also said that the current psychological evaluation tests, which policemen are required to take at regular intervals, are under scrutiny. According to the daily Gandul, the tests are 40 years old, and the questions are available through a simple Google search, along with suggested answers. For instance, one of the questions was whether the distance between two places was greater when going on foot than by car.
Cosmin Andreica, the head of the European Policemen Syndicate, a Romanian police association, told Gandul that such tests were actually a mere formality, and a tool that superiors could use against disobedient policemen.
“Psychologists are subordinated to chief police inspectors, who tell the former whom to evaluate psychologically,” Andreica said. “In 99 percent of the cases when a chief requires the testing of a subordinate, the result is that the person is no longer suitable for his or her former position, so that, in most cases, these people have to turn in their guns, are removed from their position, and, sometimes, harassed and stigmatized in front of their colleagues.”
At a higher level, Dan, the interior minister, said last evening that she would not step down, responding to Tudose’s remarks that he would accept her resignation if she decided to take that step, RomaniaTV.net writes. Tudose said on Wednesday that his issue with Dan was that she had lied to him about replacing the head of the police, Bogdan Despescu. Dan had told Tudose that the replacement she had found for Despescu already accepted the position although this wasn’t true.
“If a minister has lied to me, I cannot work with that person anymore,” Tudose said, according to a different RomaniaTV.net article.
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