CNN: UN reopens sexual assault investigation into top official Luiz Loures

SOURCE: CNN
By Mick Krever
April 27, 2018

The United Nations is to reopen an investigation into allegations of sexual assault by one of its top officials after the original inquiry, criticized as "deeply flawed" by his accuser, cleared him earlier this year.

The claims against Luiz Loures, an assistant secretary general, will be re-examined "as part of a broader investigation in the light of additional allegations," the UN said. Loures, who has always denied any wrongdoing, has not responded to CNN's request for comment about the decision to reopen the investigation.

The original case centered on claims by Martina Brostom, an employee of the UN global anti-AIDS program, where Loures was deputy executive director.

    Brostrom alleged that Loures forcibly groped and kissed her in a hotel elevator during a 2015 conference in Bangkok, Thailand, and that she was the frequent target of unwanted touching by him.

    Brostrom came forward to discuss the case publicly for the first time in an interview with CNN in March. "I was pleading with him, and I was just bracing with all that I could just to not leave the elevator," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

    In reporting Brostrom's case, CNN spoke to two other women, who alleged similar assaults by Loures.

    The new investigation will be conducted by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services, and "no UNAIDS officials will be involved in this case going forward," Sophie Barton-Knott, a UNAIDS spokesperson said in a statement Friday.

    Brostrom told CNN said that she had not heard that her case was being reopened, but said that anything short of an investigation fully independent from the UN would not be enough. Otherwise, "it doesn't make any difference," she said.

    Loures told CNN last month that Brostrom's charges were false and that he had "cooperated fully" with a 14-month investigation. That inquiry by the World Health Organization found that Brostrom's account was "detailed," but that there was "no evidence to corroborate" her charges and called her account unsubstantiated.

    The UN announced in February that Loures had volunteered to step down from his role at UNAIDS when his term expired in March.

    The UNAIDS spokesperson told CNN on Friday that though Loures has not had any "official function" since March 31, he will remain a staff member until April 30 "when he reaches retirement age."

    Campaigners claimed the original investigation was flawed because it lacked independence.

    Paula Donovan, whose campaign group Code Blue is pushing for changes in how the UN handles sexual harassment complaints, said in March that such investigations should be conducted by "external, neutral, and independent" bodies.

    ##

    (UN Photo / JC McIlwaine)