Sunday, June 26, 2022

Too close for comfort

The Military Chamber of the Supreme Court of Spain has affirmed the six-month suspension of an Army lieutenant colonel. According to El Diario:

At that time the relationship was closer, forming part of the same group of friends, and that's when the lieutenant colonel tried an intimate approach to his subordinate through calls and messages. "Conversations lasting more than 30 minutes, which although they began with professional issues, always led to personal issues", explain the sentences of the case. Messages also in which he hinted at his intention to seek a sentimental rapprochement between the two. An "excessive" relationship of affection, according to the sentence, in which the lieutenant colonel also established physical contact when they were alone "grabbing his arm, touching his hair, the nape of his neck or his back, the soldier revealing her discomfort with said physical approach.

These messages and calls initially overlapped with licenses granted by the superior, for example so that the soldier could take care of her young children, but it turned into hostility when, two years later, she began a relationship with another soldier. In 2019, the Supreme Court declares firmly proven, the lieutenant colonel began directing actions towards the soldier that "attacked her privacy and dignity, and influenced both her private and professional life, affecting her conduct and behavior ”.

For example, there was harassment on several occasions when she was on sick leave or when she was being transferred to the hospital. In her own home during her convalescence, and in the presence of other people, she even said that she was not sick but that she was “crazy”. She withdrew the privileges previously granted to her, which allowed her to reconcile her professional life with the care of her children, and ordered the woman to "find her life". She also began to control who entered and left her house.

One of the last episodes of this harassment took place in May 2019, when the soldier offered to help a girl who had been found unwell on a school trip that passed near her home. The director of the center, who refused her help, received a visit from the lieutenant colonel at the school shortly after, without an appointment and requesting information about what had happened. He went on to say that he was investigating whether the soldier had denied her help to a little girl.

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