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Minister plans grope law change

The story of a pervert that escaped scot free despite admitting fondling a young woman's bottom in public could result in a change in the law in Austria.

The incident shocked many people after it happened in Graz when the man groped the woman who he had never met before and was caught – but prosecutors decided that they could not take legal action as the man had not broken the law. For sexual assault to have been proven the man would have needed to touch the woman on even a private parts or her breasts – they said. The bottom was not included.

But now the country's women's Minister Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek from the social Democrats wants a change in the law to make it illegal and to make sure that anybody guilty can be fined up to 24,000 euros.

The plan comes as it was revealed at least 250,000 female Austrians have been the victim of brokers. The minister wants to make sure that the change in law is in place by 8 March.

She also plans to make it the law that investigators can look into possible offence without the permission of the victim.

Last year 47 of the 87 people accused of sexual harassment escaped with just a fine. 18 were jailed for under three months – 12 for more than three months and seven got a suspended sentence.

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