Police in Sale, Morocco, arrested last weekend a manager at Ozone, the waste collection company in Rabat’s twin city, for sexually abusing female employees.
According to local newspaper Al Akhbar, the suspect allegedly forced “about a dozen” workers to have sex with him, among other “sexual favors,” and threatened to fire them if they refused.
The 45-year-old suspect appeared before the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Rabat on Monday, October 12. He will remain in custody at the Arjat Prison in Sale pending investigations into the charges of rape and sexual harassment that face him.
The crimes have allegedly gone on for several months and targeted many workers, especially those in vulnerable situations and who cannot afford to lose their livelihood.
The alleged crimes only came to light after some of the victims decided to speak up, pleading with the head of Moroccan police, Abdellatif Hammouchi, to intervene.
The victims claimed they were afraid to denounce the abuse they suffered, not only from fear of losing their job, but also because of the suspect’s “influence and connections.”
While “about a dozen” victims exposed the alleged rapist, some have decided to drop their charges against him for undisclosed reasons.
Meanwhile, the remaining victims presented hard evidence against the suspect, including audio and video recordings.
According to testimonies, the manager asked the female workers to send him explicit photos. He also allegedly brought some of the victims to his apartment and sexually abused them, threatening to fire them if they refused to meet him or if they told anyone of the abuse.
Some of the victims claimed the suspect raped them during Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month.
According to Article 485 of Morocco’s penal code, rape is punishable by five to ten years in prison. Meanwhile, Article 503-1 punishes sexual harassment convicts when they have a position of authority over their victims with one to three years in prison, in addition to a fine ranging between MAD 5,000 and MAD 50,000 ($543-$5,426).