Mexico holds ex-political boss in sex recruiting scandal

Politics

A sign promoting the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) reads in Spanish “Sign up! Your party needs you.” hangs on the PRI headquarters for Mexico City, Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Cuauhtemoc Gutierrez, local political chief from Mexico’s ruling party, the PRI, is denying local press reports that his office hired women to have sex with him by placing them on party payrolls as secretaries or receptionists. The MVS radio station says an undercover reporter recorded recruiters telling potential hires they would have to have sex with their boss. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in Mexico City said Tuesday a judge has ordered a former political boss held in jail pending trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Cuauhtémoc Gutiérrez is the former Mexico City leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century.

Gutierrez resigned in 2014 following reports that his office hired women to have sex with him and placed them on party payrolls.

The city prosecutors’ office said Gutierrez will be held in jail while he is tried on four counts of attempted human trafficking “in the commission of aggravated sexual exploitation,” as well as criminal conspiracy and other charges.

Gutierrez was arrested Dec. 29, after the government’s anti-money laundering froze his bank accounts.

The charges were based on the accusations that emerged in 2014. Prosecutors said at that time they did not have enough evidence to bring the case to trial, but it was later re-opened.

In 2014, the MVS radio station aired a story by an undercover reporter who recorded recruiters at Gutierrez’s office telling potential hires they would have to have sex with Gutierrez if given a job as secretaries or receptionists.

The report alleged he recruited women for the positions through newspaper ads for “women to work in government offices.”

Gutierrez denied the accusations at the time. A lumbering, bearded figure, he was long known as “The King of Trash” because his family once led an association of the city’s garbage-pickers.

The PRI enjoyed a 71-year hold on the presidency, losing it in 2000 and regaining the nation’s top post in 2012, before losing it again in 2018. The party has been plagued by corruption scandals throughout its long existence.

The Mexico City government has been held by the opposition since 1997, and since 2018 by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party.

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