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Helsinki police nix criminal probe into sexual harassment claims at Kallio school

Police said that six cases of alleged harassment involving a teacher at the school all took place before sexual harassment was criminalised in 2014.

Kallion lukio.
Kallio Upper Secondary School of Performing Arts in Helsinki. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Helsinki police said Tuesday that the department has decided not to launch an investigation into claims of sexual harassment at an upper secondary school in the city’s Kallio district.

The Helsinki police department said that a preliminary inquiry into reports of sexual harassment at Kallio Upper Secondary School of Performing Arts revealed six cases of alleged inappropriate behaviour.

In November, Finnish media reported that a teacher had been suspended from the school over allegations of improper behaviour and harassment of students that took place for years.

During the inquiry, police asked individuals affected by the teacher’s actions to contact sex crimes investigators at the department.

Right to prosecute expires in two years

In five cases, investigators learned of inappropriate behaviour on the teacher’s part, however they said it did not constitute an offence given the legislation existing at the time. The teacher’s improper behaviour allegedly occurred between 1997 and 2004.

In a sixth instance, a case involving slander that occurred in 2000, the statute of limitations had already expired. In cases involving sexual harassment, the right to prosecute expires in two years.

In a statement issued Tuesday, police noted that sexual harassment was criminalised in September 2014. All of the cases of harassment reported by the individuals who contacted investigators took place before the new law took effect, the release added.

The police department pointed out that if a young person or a child feels that they have experienced inappropriate advances, they should report the matter to their parents, other trusted adults or the police.

They also urged the parents of teens and young children as well as people who work with children to have open discussions with youngsters about what constitutes improper behaviour and how they should act in such cases.

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