A former foreign minister of Guatemala alleges that President Jimmy Morales sexually abused 12 "young women" working for the state.
Two weeks ago the ex-foreign minister, Edgar Gutierrez used his op-ed column to accuse Morales of harnessing his authority to "abuse young ladies" and called for the president’s resignation.
On Wednesday Gutierrez gave further details about the allegations to Guatemalan media outlet, La Coma Periodismo. He said that "young women working in the public sector who have systematically been subjected, against their will, to demeaning acts for any human being," at the hands of the current head of state.
The former minister said that these transgressions committed just by Morales with the complicity of his inner circle of high-ranking government officials. The abuses were "committed or induced by high-ranking government authorities who, taking advantage of their rank, their position of power, trampled on the dignity of Guatemalan women."
According to Gutierrez, over a dozen women so far have told him that President Morales is the person who directly harassed and abused the women, but that government official "induced or pressured" them to go to the Presidential House or private location to meet the president. Gutierrez says they were" complicit collaborators" to the president’s sexual abuse.
"They are not yet encouraged to file a criminal complaint, there is fear, there is also fear of the stigma that generates such a conservative society and family circles are also prudent," he said.
Gutierrez said in his interview that the sexual violations took place at the Presidential House, hotels and government offices this year and last.
"These are not isolated cases, we are dealing with a pattern of unlawful, immoral, and demeaning behavior for the human condition. This should not be tolerated," said the former minister.
When Gutierrez first came out with these allegations in late June the administration responded saying: "We categorically reject the accusations that are being made against President Jimmy Morales. We have no knowledge of the case (...) This is a statement made by former Chancellor Edgar Gutierrez, which has no meaning and lacks veracity. "
The ex-foreign minister said that at the beginning of 2018 he had knowledge of one of the cases, which he suggested denouncing, but authorities did nothing with the information. However, more and more women felt compelled to come forward and speak to Gutierrez after his initial article was published in late June. He says there are now "a dozen" who say they are victims of the president.
Yet, says Gutierrez, these women are still too afraid to come forward publicly for fear of public backlash against them.
"They are not yet ready to file a criminal complaint. There is fear, there is also fear of the stigma (in this) conservative society and prudent family circles" said Gutierrez.
When asked again on Wednesday if the president had a reply to the allegations, the press secretary said: "The administration has no comments on this matter. As long as there is no (formal) complaint this is slander, defamation. We will give no further comment a complaint is filed."
According to national media, a case was filed against the current president in 2015 for "sexual aggression" but it was later thrown out.