Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 22-11-2019 20:31

Relative accuses Senator José Alperovich of rape, sexual abuse

Explosive allegations – stretching over period lasting more than a year – against three-time former governor of Tucumán Province spark immediate calls for his resignation.

A new scandal rocked Argentina’s political world on Friday – charges of sexual abuse levied against Senator José Alperovich, previously a three-term governor of Tucumán. 

The charges were made by a 29-year-old relative and former personal assistant to the ex-governor (whose name was withheld in order to  protect her identity) in the form of an explosive letter under the hashtag ‘#NoNosCallamosMás.’

The woman also requested police protection and a restraining order, as well as a ban on Alperovich leaving the country. Magistrate Osvaldo Rappa immediately ordered police protection.

Since the alleged abuse is said to have occurred both in Alperovich’s Puerto Madero apartment here and back home in Tucumán at his campaign headquarters, the corresponding charges have been lodged in both Buenos Aires City and Tucumán courts.

“It always happened with his [armed] bodyguards just outside so she felt that she could not even scream,” her lawyer Ricardo Santoro told reporters.

According to the woman, the abuse was constant over a period of 18 months, only ending six months ago. Her “Calvary” caused both physical injuries which have been “duly documented” according to Santoro and psychological damage causing her to lose 12 kilos in weight.

“I’m not writing to convince anybody of anything,” said her open letter, “I’m here against the oppression of silence and the need to recover my life ... by giving the monster a name and surname. Mine is called José Jorge Alperovich by whom I was raped sexually, physically and psychologically between December, 2017, and May, 2019.”

As a result both her family and working life became a nightmare, the letter continued. She expressed reluctance to enter into details of the abuse beyond saying that she was kissed, fondled and penetrated against her will but in quoting the words of the actress Zuleika Esnal (who denounced abuse under the same hashtag almost a year ago) she implied that the senator had a distinct preference for anal intercourse in order to avoid the risk of pregnancy.    

“I was completely trapped ... never in my life have I cried so much,” continued the letter, adding that in all that period she was unable to take a holiday and only felt free from her “nightmare” when the senator travelled.

“I’m not lying, I’m not looking for fame – who would want to become famous by recounting the horror I underwent? I do not want money nor any political impact from my denunciation ... This is for me, this is my nunca más [never more],” the letter closed before concluding with an extended quote from Zuleika Esnal.   

José Alperovich, 64, was born into a wealthy business family of Lithuanian Jewish origin (he later often boasted of being Argentina’s first Jewish governor ever but this was untrue since Chubut’s Néstor Perl beat him to it in 1987) and carried on the family business in Tucumán before entering political life as a Radical provincial legislator in 1995. Although nominally Radical, his three terms as Tucumán governor coincided with the 12 years of Kirchner presidencies with the result that he evolved into one of the most ardent Kircherites in Argentine politics. In the Tucumán provincial elections last June he attempted a comeback to government house by running against his chosen successor Juan Luis Manzur but finished in 4th place with 11.6 percent – curiously enough, his abuse of his relative apparently stopped around the time that campaign was beginning.

– TIMES/PERFIL

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