Fri, Jan 13, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Legislator says aides may still sue

CORROBORATING EVIDENCE The DPP's Chen Ying showed the media security camera footage that she says helps to substantiate allegations of sexual harassment

CNA , TAIPEI

DPP legislators Chen Ying, left, and Lee Chen-nan shake hands yesterday after Lee apologized for the alleged misconduct of his assistant.

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩) said yesterday that two of her assistants have not ruled out the possibility of suing a transportation official who has been demoted for allegedly sexually harassing them.

In a bid to prove the allegations, Chen yesterday showed the media footage captured by the legislature's surveillance camera and videotaped by her when security guards showed her the tape on Wednesday.

Chen said that Liao Yuan-lung (廖源隆), director of the Department of the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, was caught on tape putting his hands on the shoulders of her assistants, who yanked them away.

Another DPP legislator, Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠), yesterday tearfully attempted to distance himself from the scandal.

Chen had accused Chang Hung-ruei (張宏睿), an assistant of Lee's, of lying when he said on Wednesday that he had not seen Liao touch the women on their breasts.

Lee said that Chang is only an informal assistant of his and he sees him only once a month. Nevertheless, Lee apologized to Chen in person and recommended that she seek legal redress.

Meanwhile, in related news, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) will stage six seminars from later this month to the middle of next month to increase people's knowledge about the Sexual Harassment Prevention Law (性騷擾防治法) that will take effect on Feb. 5, ministry officials said.

The law, which was passed by the legislature late last year, will make legal protection of women more comprehensive after the government implemented laws on gender equality in the job market, education about gender equality and the maintenance of social order, said the officials.

The new law punishes perpetrators found to have willfully kissed, embraced or touched the breast, buttocks or other private parts of a person of the opposite sex without their consent.

Violators are punishable by a jail term of up to two years and a maximum fine of NT$100,000 (US$3,122).

Victims of sexual harassment can file a complaint within one year of the incident with government agencies, schools, institutions or employers of the accused. Victims can also make their complaints known to the city or county government of their place of residence.

Officials at the MOI's domestic violence and sexual violation prevention committee said the law alone cannot prevent unfortunate things from happening, so individuals must be aware of the potential dangers they risk and clearly express their real intentions in order to avoid sexual harassment caused by miscommunication or misunderstanding.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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