It’s about abuse of power, sexual harassment by the police and also about Strobl’s personality – because the post of interior minister shook in connection with allegations against the police inspector. Now the suspended inspector is to appear in court.

It is the alleged scandal of the affair: first the serious allegations against the highest-ranking police officer in the country were made loud. Then an affair developed from it, which caused the post of Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) to wobble and called the opposition into action. This was followed by a committee of inquiry and demands for his resignation. Now the Stuttgart public prosecutor’s office has opened the next chapter in the alleged sex scandal against the state’s top police officer and brought charges against the police inspector in Baden-Württemberg, the top officer in blue.

He is charged with a crime of sexual coercion, the public prosecutor announced on Wednesday. According to dpa information, the inspector is said to have harassed a chief inspector in a video chat with his ideas about sexual practices – in return for career advantages. The inspector denies the allegation. He is the country’s highest-ranking police officer and has been suspended over the allegations.

According to his lawyer, he is seeking an acquittal in court. “My client will now consistently defend himself in the upcoming main hearing with regard to an acquittal,” Waiblingen lawyer Jens Rabe said on request. It is regrettable that the public prosecutor’s office brought charges at all “with this evidence situation”.

The prosecutor’s office sees the situation differently. She accuses the inspector of “knowingly exploiting the fact that, due to his professional position, he was able to put the police officer at serious professional disadvantage in the event of resistance”. The district court of Stuttgart must now decide whether and when to start a main trial.

Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) has also been under pressure because of the matter for a long time – according to his own statements, he had passed on a letter from the inspector’s lawyer to a journalist. According to Strobl, however, he wants to pay a fine to end a preliminary investigation against him. The opposition is demanding his resignation. However, the green-black coalition in the southwest has closed ranks behind the minister and rejected a motion to dismiss the CDU state leader. In addition, a committee of inquiry is currently examining sexual harassment by the police, as well as the practice of promotion and Strobl’s actions.

The SPD accuses the Minister of the Interior of having promoted the inspector to office too quickly. “The turbo promotion to the top of the state police now appears in a completely different light,” said the Baden-Württemberg SPD domestic politician Sascha Binder. He paid tribute to the woman who had made the allegations against her superior. “Without her courage none of this would have come out,” said Binder. The FDP agreed. The leader of the Liberal parliamentary group, Hans-Ulrich Rülke, said it had to be clarified what role Minister Strobl played in the inspector’s lightning career. The CDU politician is responsible for the fact that the man rose “so meteorically” in the state police.

On the other hand, the two trade unions of the Baden-Württemberg police were relieved that the charges had been brought. The presumption of innocence also applies in this case, emphasized the state chairman of the police union (GdP), Gundram Lottmann. “But it is good and important if there is clarity here and you can also complete the long procedure.” From the point of view of the German Police Union (DPolG), the scandal and affair are a clear burden on the police. “I would have wished that the allegations had been dealt with more quickly,” said Ralf Kusterer, head of state.

As a result of the allegations of sexual harassment in the state police, a new contact point for those affected was set up at the beginning of the year. The GdP announced at the time that it was intended to offer low-threshold help for all police employees in Baden-Württemberg who were confronted with sexual violence or sexual harassment.

The contact point was set up together with the country’s ombudsman. However, so far no one has contacted the contact point, said GdP chairman Lottmann of the dpa.