Court to decide on former opera chief sexual harassment case in February

The Tallinn-based Harju County Court on Monday concluded the deliberation of the harassment scandal of Aivar Mäe, former director of the Estonian National Opera, and will issue a decision on his complaint regarding a fine imposed by the police in February.

Mäe's lawyer Paul Keres said in court on Monday that the testimony of the witnesses against Mae is not reliable and asked for Mae's complaint to be satisfied.

The court will make a decision regarding Mae's appeal on February 17.

"The police made a decision on Oct. 21 in the misdemeanor procedure against Aivar Mäe. The police proved in the course of the procedure that sexual harassment had taken place and a fine was imposed [on Mae] as punishment," spokesperson for the Police and Border Guard Board Marianne Ubaleht told BNS in October.

The police launched proceedings against Mäe on June 26 on the basis of the section of the Penal Code dealing with sexual harassment in order to verify claims by female employees of the Estonian National Opera regarding Mäe's inappropriate behavior.

Based on claims by former and current female employees of the National Opera, who wished to remain anonymous, the weekly Eesti Ekspress on June 22 wrote that Mäe's behavior towards them has been degrading and harassing. Mae said the accusations are malicious slander, but later issued a public apology.

Mäe resigned from his position as head of the Estonian National Opera in August.

Mäe's lawyer Paul Keres said in October that the misdemeanor ruling will be contested as there has been no sexual harassment. "The event for which Aivar Mae was punished has not taken place. He was in a completely different place at the time. This has turned out badly for them," he said.

Mäe is currently involved in the establishment of the Artium education and culture center as the project manager of Viimsi Haldus.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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