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Wed, Jul 04, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP closes sexual harassment probe

ALLEGATIONS The party said it's up to the courts to decide if legislator Parris Chang is guilty of wrong doing, but the decision didn't sit well with the alleged victim

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

After a three-week investigation, the DPP has decided to wash its hands of an alleged affair involving party legislator Parris Chang (張旭成) and his former aide, Betty Wong (汪鳳英).

In addition, the DPP said it couldn't do anything about Wong's claims that Chang had harassed other women, because no complaints have been filed with the party.

The DPP said yesterday it would be up to the legal system to determine whether Chang was guilty of any wrong doing.

"Wong's accusations against Chang concern criminal law," DPP secretary-general Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) said yesterday afternoon after the party's Central Standing Committee meeting. "Only the law can determine the truth. She should take the matter to court," Wu said, adding that the DPP was willing to provide Wong with legal help.

Wu added that the DPP "would not look further into sexual harassment charges against Chang because no one has ever filed any complaints to the party. As for the accusations revealed to the media, we consider them inappropriate and malicious."

But the DPP's decision didn't sit well with Wong yesterday, who threatened to take drastic measures.

"If Chang doesn't step down from his post, it is I who shall die," Wong said yesterday, branding the legislator "a wolf."

Wong also claimed that nine other victims, including Linda Arrigo, ex-wife of former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), would come forward to testify against Chang.

Arrigo yesterday criticized the DPP's attitude as "ridiculous and ostrich-like," telling the Taipei Times that she definitely plans to file a formal complaint to the party against Chang's sexual harassment misconduct.

On June 12, Wong accused Chang of being "a frequent womanizer," alleging that he had an extramarital affair with her earlier this year and, before that, had sexually harassed many other women.

Wong also claimed that when she was invited to Chang's place one night, she "lost consciousness" for about four hours for reasons that she could not explain. She suspects that Chang drugged her.

Arrigo said that 10 years ago, Chang had crept into her hotel bed without her consent.

But Chang has flatly denied Wong's and Arrigo's allegations and has filed a libel suit to clear his name.

The legislator refused to comment yesterday on the party's decision.

The party's Central Standing Committee had previously asked member Lawrence Gao (高志鵬) to talk to both parties and conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

Gao yesterday presented the committee with his seven-page report, in which he said both Wong and Chang stuck to their respective stories.

"Both parties failed to present concrete evidence [to support their stories]. Therefore, the matter should be resolved in a court of law," Gao told reporters yesterday.

Gao said that he had done his best, but he was incapable of doing the job of a court judge.

Gao also suggested that the party establish a special unit that would be prepared to conduct investigations into any similar incidents in the future.

Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), another member of the party's Central Standing Committee, proposed yesterday revising party regulations on sexual harassment, which only apply to party officials instead of all party members -- including civil servants and government officials.

The DPP yesterday asked its related branches to draft revisions to the regulations, which will be reviewed by the party's Central Executive Committee first and by the National Congress in September.

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