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Finnish city pledges non-tolerance to school sexual harassment after embarrassing revelations

Xinhua,December 23, 2017 Adjust font size:

HELSINKI, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- The southwestern Finnish city of Turku on Friday pledged non-tolerance to sexual harassment in school system following media reports about the systematic effort to conceal the problems.

Last week Mikko Salmi, editor of the weekly Demokraatti, published a column where he explained how he and several other boys had been touched indecently by their music teacher in the late 1980s in Turku.

The mentioned case never went to the police due to the effort to hush-hush it, according to local media reports.

Newspaper Turun Sanomat said this week that officials of the Turku Education Unit had wanted to handle the matter internally "to protect the reputation of the school," even though some members of the board had demanded that police be contacted.

Turun Sanomat noted not all alleged actions of the teacher were criminalized at that time and have been outdated and no longer punishable by now.

Mayor of Turku Minna Arve said on Thursday that the investigation of the case was undercover as late as in 2000. She was shocked with the way the matter was handled. And she apologized to the families and victims.

Since that time, Finnish legislation has become stricter and the duty of an official to report a matter to police is much wider, she stressed. Turku city officials said on Friday there had been one case during this decade where a teacher was suspect.

Timo Jalonen, the current head of education in Turku, assured to national broadcaster Yle that these days all claims about harassment are reported to the police and child protection authorities. Enditem