Linden sexual assaultConcerned parties have now responded to allegations that an incident occurred involving a Linden businessman making sexual advances and assaulting contestants of the Linden Town Week Beauty Pageant with the knowledge of a member of the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC).The LM&TC, responsible for overseeing this year’s event in the mining town, has spoken out against the allegations of sexual misconduct, saying it is deeply concerned and regrets the occurrence of such an incident because it tarnishes the image and integrity of the pageantry and the municipality.An allegation has been circulating in a viral social media post that a businessman from Amelia’s Ward, Linden had made sexual advances towards the delegates when they were at his premises to seek sponsorship during March 2018. The post alleges that the LM&TC tried to cover up the matter and officials tried to silence the victims.But the LMTC has said that aiding or abetting any activity and behaviour that is demeaning to women or any other individual or group of individuals is incompatible with its ideals. As such, given the sensitive nature of the case, the LM&TC conducted an independent investigation into the incident.The investigation found irrefutable evidence that an incident occurred on March 3, 2018, and the said matter was settled between the parties involved on March 6, 2018.In providing a detailed explanation on the matter, the Council said the matter was first brought to its attention on March 16; that the issue was brought to the attention of the mayor by Councillor Devin Sears, but the mayor was informed that the matter was with the Police.On Sunday, April 1, the issue was again brought to the mayor’s attention with information that the matter had not been settled. The Council immediately called for an investigation, and visited the coordinator of the pageant, who provided some information, and a meeting was then scheduled with the victim.However, the mayor was later informed by the victim that she did not wish to prosecute the issue. On this premise, the Council met with the victim on April 5, and the minutes of that meeting were taken. The victim indicated that she had no comment to make on the issue, since a signed document existed prohibiting any further discussion on the matter.“Contrary to stated opinion, the Mayor did not, in any way, attempt to trivialize the issue or to sweep anything under the carpet. In light of (the victim’s) previous statement with respect to the signed document and her refusal to comment, there was no need for the mayor to caution her to be silent. Hence this allegation is a malicious, fallacious attempt to deliberately smudge the Office of the Mayor,” LM&TC said.The mayor has since advised the victim that since they had no prior telephone conversation, she should make a public statement to correct this information. The Council has said it stands resolute in its position against any sexual misconduct, sexual abuse or harassment, and will advocate for justice.AFC statementMeanwhile, the Alliance For Change (AFC) said in a statement on Monday that it is aware of a social media post regarding an alleged incident which took place in Linden.The party also admitted that the incident involved a member of the AFC’s Region 10 Regional Management Committee.Based on some sources, the AFC member was one of the persons who accompanied the victim to the businessman’s premises to seek sponsorship, which led to her allegedly being assaulted. The AFC said the party leadership has communicated with the named member, and the party will launch its own investigation into the matter, and act in accordance with the findings.“The AFC reiterates its strong revulsion of any mistreatment of females, and will take appropriate action should any misconduct in this, or any other regard, be proven,” the statement added.