Last week Andrzej Lepper, the head of the agrarian and populist Self Defense Party and a former deputy prime minister, was questioned for more than two hours by prosecutors in Lodz. Lepper has been charged with soliciting sex from two women in 2001 and 2002.
The women allege that Lepper promised them jobs on condition they had sex with him. Lepper has strenuously denied the charges and has been released on bail.
The investigation began a year ago after allegations were made in a newspaper interview.
According to press reports, Lepper and his deputy, Stanislaw Lyzwinski, were accused of pressuring women to have sex with them in exchange for jobs.
Both men have denied having sex with the women. They say they are the victims of a campaign to discredit them and their party. The investigation continues.
In December 2006, Aneta Krawczyk said in an interview with the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that she had slept with both Lepper and Lyzwinski in exchange for a job in a regional party office.
According to the newspaper, Lepper invited the woman to a hotel room five years ago after she was promised the job. She said that in order to keep her job she was also required to have sex with Lyzwinski.
Other female employees also alleged harassment. Krawczyk also said she had a child fathered by Lyzwinski.
DNA tests ordered by prosecutors excluded the possibility of Lyzwinski being the father of her youngest child.
That is when many people started to treat her accusations with suspicion. Despite this, the investigation continued and new witnesses appeared.
At the time of the newspaper interview, Lepper served as one of four deputy prime ministers and as agriculture minister in the government run by Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
The scandal shook the government and was a factor in breaking up the ruling coalition and sparking early elections.
The scandal was embarrassing for Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who had promised a “moral revolution” in the country.
In the election last month, Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party lost to the pro-business Civic Platform.
The Self Defense Party didn’t reach the 5 percent threshold for entering parliament.
So Lepper is no longer protected by a deputy’s immunity and can be brought to court. Sexual offenses of this kind carry a maximum prison term of eight years.