Former Minister Jón Baldvin Sentenced in Sexual Harassment Case

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former government minister and diplomat, has received a suspended sentence of two months’ imprisonment in a sexual harassment case related to an incident that took place at his home in Granada, Spain in 2018, Vísir reports. The Landsréttur Court of Appeals also ordered him to pay all court and appeal costs related to the case. Jón Baldvin’s defense attorney has said that an application will be made to the Supreme Court requesting the right to appeal the judgement.

An acquittal

The sexual harassment charges were first brought against Jón Baldvin in 2019, when Carmen Jóhannsdóttir accused him of having groped her buttocks during a dinner party in Granada the year before.

Resolution on the case was long delayed, however, in part because the Reykjavík District Court repeatedly dismissed it because the incident took place in Spain and was therefore not, the court contended, under its jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals overturned this dismissal on technical grounds: over four weeks had passed between the oral presentation of the call to stop the case and the court’s decision to throw the case out. As such, the District Court was forced to reopen the case.

Competing witness testimony also came into play. Carmen’s mother, Laufey Ósk Arnorsdóttir, was also in attendance at the party in 2018 and testified that she witnessed Jón Baldvin groping her daughter. The District Court rejected Laufey’s testimony, saying it did not correspond to Carmen’s version of events. Instead, it accepted the testimony of Jón Baldvin’s wife Bryndís Schram and a neighbor, who corroborated his version of events. The Reykjavík District Court finally ruled on the case in August 2021 and Jón Baldvin was acquitted of the charges.

A conviction

The case was then taken up again by the Court of Appeals, with the District Attorney seeking a suspended sentence of two to three months for Jón Baldvin. Carmen Jóhannsdóttir also sought damages totaling ISK one million [$7,086; €6,725]. Carmen’s claim for damages was rejected, but the Court of Appeals granted the DA’s suspended sentence of two months.

In its decision, the Court of Appeals stated that Carmen’s account of the incident was credible, and was, in fact, supported by that of her mother. It was the Court’s opinion that these testimonies outweighed Jón Baldvin’s denial.

A long history of accusations

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was an MP for the Social Democratic Party, serving as Minister of Finance from 1987 to 1988 and Foreign Affairs Minister from 1988 to 1995. Following his time in parliament, he served as a diplomat, first to the US and Mexico from 1998 to 2002, and then to the Baltics from 2002 to 2005.

He has faced repeated accusations of sexual harassment and impropriety throughout his career, dating all the way back to 1967 when he was a teacher at an elementary school. In 2012, it was revealed that Jón Baldvin had sent his wife’s niece Guðrún Harðardóttir sexually explicit letters starting when she was 14 years old. Jón Baldvin denied that he sexually harassed Guðrún, but apologised for what he called a “lapse of judgement” in initiating the correspondence. Guðrún attempted to press charges against Jón Baldvin, but police dropped the case.

See Also: Former Minister Accused of Sexual Harassment Over 50-Year Period

In 2013, Jón Baldvin was invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of Iceland. When objections ensued, the university withdrew the invitation. Jón Baldvin protested the decision and threatened to take legal action, upon which the university agreed to pay him ISK 500,000 [$3,542; €3,361] in compensation and publicly apologised for how they handled the matter.

In 2019, Stundin published interviews with four women, including Carmen Jóhannsdóttir, in which each described incidents of sexual harassment by Jón Baldvin. A Facebook group called #metoo Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was formed around the same time, and at least 12 women used the platform to share accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of the former politician.

In the face of all these incidents, however, Jón Baldvin has maintained his utmost innocence. He called Carmen’s charge “pure fabrication” and stated it was part of “a coordinated attack on my reputation.”

‘It hasn’t been an easy journey, but today, it all became worth it’

Carmen was abroad at the time that the Court of Appeals published its decision, but she spoke to reporters after she’d had some time to process the news. “This is very much a cause for celebration,” she said. “I know it’s not a heavy sentence, but it’s just the fact that he’s been sentenced at all. I didn’t expect it, to be perfectly honest, but I’m really happy about it.”

“It’s been a long process and of course, there’s already been one ruling on it. But I have to say that I’m really happy about this. I’m happy about this victory—not just for me, but also for everyone who’s been subjected to abuse at the hands of Jón Baldvin.”

“Hopefully, this will set a precedent for other judges and lawyers,” continued Carmen. “And also just for people who haven’t had the desire or ability to claim their rights—that it’s worth it, even if it’s hard. I’ll absolutely admit that it hasn’t been an easy journey, but today, it all became worth it.”

Former Minister Charged With Sexual Assault

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson has been charged with sexual assault, mbl.is reports. Jón divulged the information himself in a column published in Morgunblaðið newspaper today. The former Foreign Affairs Minister, Finance Minister, and diplomat had previously been accused of sexual harassment by at least 12 women over a 50-year period.

The charge concerns Jón’s alleged assault of a woman who was a visitor in his home, alleging he “stroked up and down her buttocks over her clothing.” Jón called the charge “pure fabrication” and stated it was part of “a co-ordinated attack on my reputation.”

Read More: Used Ambassador’s Position to Send Daughter to Mental Institution 

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs between 1988 and 1995, as well as Minister of Finance between 1987-88. He sat as a Member of Parliament between 1982 to 1998. Later, he served as Iceland’s ambassador to the United States and Finland. Jón Baldvin is also known for his support of the Baltic states’ secession from the Soviet Union during his stint as Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was awarded the Commander’s Grand Cross by Lithuanian authorities for his role in recognising the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

Twenty-three Women Publish Allegations Against Former Politician

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

Icelandic diplomat and former chairman of the Icelandic Social Democratic Party, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, has recently come under scrutiny for sexual misconduct, Morgunblaðið reports. Twenty-three women have now published a blog site detailing the allegations, with the earliest dating back to the year 1962.

This is not the first time women have come forward accusing Jón Baldvin of harassment. In 2012 Hannibalsson made headlines when Guðrún Harðardóttir, the niece of Jón’s wife, published a number of letters he sent her when she was between the ages of 14 and 17, many of whom are sexual in nature. Earlier this month, Stundin reported additional accounts of sexual misconduct and Jón’s daughter, Aldís Schram, has also been in the media, detailing her fraught relationship with her father in the wake of his alleged harassment of her former classmates.

This morning, 23 women, including the ones who had come forward earlier, published their stories online. The stories range from alleged harassment to sexual coercion and the accusers include Jón Baldvin’s sister-in-law, daughter and former students.

Jón Baldvin was active in politics in Iceland between the mid-eighties and mid-nineties, serving as Minister of Finance and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs He then went on to serve as diplomat in the United States and Mexico, and later in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Jón has denied the accusations but admits having sent letters to his wife’s niece, with one of them turning overtly sexual as he wrote under the influence of alcohol at an airport when a flight was delayed.

Many of Jón’s accusers have pressed charges, with the police eventually dropping their investigation due to lack of evidence.

Former Minister Accused of Sexual Harassment Over 50-Year Period

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

At least twelve women have come forward with accounts of sexual harassment by former minister and diplomat Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson. Stundin reported first. The oldest accounts occurred in the 60s while the most recent is from last year. In 2012, it was revealed that Jón Baldvin had sent his wife’s niece sexually explicit letters starting when she was 14 years old.

Sent niece explicit letters

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was an MP for the Social Democratic Party (Alþýðuflokkurinn), serving as Minister of Finance from 1987 to 1988 and Foreign Affairs Minister from 1988 to 1995. Following his time in parliament, he served as a diplomat from 1998 to 2006. In 2012, Guðrún Harðardóttir, a niece of Jón Baldvin’s wife, revealed he had sent her sexually explicit and erotic letters between 1998 and 2001, when she was 14-17 years old. Jón Baldvin denied that he had sexually harassed Guðrún, but apologised for what he called a “lapse of judgement” in initiating the correspondence. Guðrún attempted to press charges against Jón Baldvin for sexual harassment, but police dropped the case.

In 2013, Jón Baldvin was invited to the University of Iceland as a guest lecturer. When objections ensued, the university withdrew the invitation. Jón Baldvin protested the decision and threatened to take legal action, upon which the university agreed to pay him ISK 500,000 ($4,100/€3,600) in compensation and publicly apologised for how they handled the matter.

Women share accounts in Facebook group

On Saturday, Stundin published an interview with four women who describe accounts of sexual harassment by Jón Baldvin. The earliest of the accounts occurred in 1967, when Jón Baldvin was a teacher at Hagaskóli elementary school. The victims of his alleged harassment would have been around 13-14 years old. Carmen Jóhannsdóttir asserts Jón Baldvin sexually assaulted her just last year in June, when he started stroking her behind at the home he shares with his wife Bryndís Schram in Spain. Guðrún Harðardóttir recounts Jón Baldvin attempting to kiss her when she was a teenager and repeatedly appearing in her bedroom at night. Other women have described similar visits.

In a Facebook group called #metoo Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, at least 12 women have shared accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of the former politician. The group is reported to have around 300 members, though many identify as witnesses or supporters of the victims.

Jón Baldvin responds

When asked by reporters about Carmen’s account, Jón Baldvin called it “totally absurd and untrue.” When further interrogated about the accounts from Hagaskóli he stated “That’s an ancient matter and I have nothing to say about that. I won’t respond to it.” Jón Baldvin’s wife Bryndís has expressed supported for her husband. Jón Baldvin has stated that he intends to respond to the accusations in his own time.