VILNIUS – Kristijonas Bartosevicius is suspected of sexually abusing four minors while he served as a member of the Lithuanian parliament, the Prosecutor General's Office said on Wednesday.
Prosecutors have brought formal suspicions against Bartosevicius as part of their investigation under the Criminal Code's articles concerning sexual assault on a minor and a young child, and sexual molestation of a child.
"The available evidence from the pre-trial investigation suggests that the offences were committed while the suspect was a member of the Seimas," the office said in a press release.
"At present, four persons, who were minors at the time, have been recognized as victims," it said.
Bartosevicius, who has recently resigned as MP, has been questioned, according to the press release.
The prosecutors would not comment on the suspect's position during the questioning. Bartosevicius has previously denied the allegations against him.
According to Wednesday's press release, the man is banned from leaving Lithuania and from communicating with the victims, and has had his documents taken.
"The suspect and his lawyer are prohibited from providing third parties with information about the investigation and its data so as to ensure the rights of the victims," it said.
The prosecutors will provide no detailed information about the investigation, such as the circumstances, time and place of the suspected criminal offences, to "ensure the victims' right to confidentiality".
The Prosecutor General's Office said a week ago that Prosecutor General Nida Grunskiene had written to Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, speaker of the Seimas, to inform her that the pre-trial investigation had been launched and that it required "addressing the issue" of stripping Bartosevicius of his legal immunity from prosecution.
The press release came a couple of hours after Bartosevicius confirmed that he was resigning as a member of the parliament "for personal reasons".
The office said on Wednesday that Grunskiene adhered to the "principle of strict confidentiality" in her letter, only informing Cmilyte-Nielsen of the fact of the pre-trial investigation, the date on which it had been launched, and the articles of the Criminal Code under which it had been opened.
"Later, when the speaker of the Seimas asked whether MP Bartosevicius, who had publicly announced his decision to resign (...), was the same person mentioned in the letter, (...) a clarification was sent to her (...), in which the MP was named," it said.
The Central Electoral Commission received Bartosevicius' statement of resignation by email at around 8 p.m. on January 20, while he was on a trip abroad, and revoked his mandate on January 24.
The politician told reporters that it was a well-thought-out decision, rather than a spontaneous one, and that he decided to step down for health issues.