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Former Miss Costa Rica files second sexual abuse claim against Óscar Arias

February 8, 2019

A second woman filed a criminal complaint for sexual abuse against former Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace laureate Óscar Arias, local press said on Friday.

Costa Rica’s Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to the Tico Times that a second criminal complaint for sexual abuse was filed against Arias on Thursday at 7 p.m.

On a Facebook post, Yazmin Morales, who was Miss Costa Rica in 1994, thanked local and international media for helping her bring her case to light, but referred all further requests to her lawyer.

Arias, 78, had already rejected on Tuesday another allegation of sexual assault made by a peace campaigner.

“I deny categorically the accusations made against me,” said Arias, who won the Nobel prize in 1987 for efforts to broker an end to Central America’s civil wars.

Psychiatrist and peace campaigner Alexandra Arce von Herold, who filed a complaint with police, alleged he assaulted her at his home in 2014.

She had gone there to enlist his support in a campaign against nuclear weapons.

In the criminal complaint obtained by The Tico Times, she alleged that at the end of the meeting Arias came up behind her, grabbed her breasts, put his hands up her dress and penetrated her with his fingers.

Arce said she was so traumatized that she gave up her lobbying for the NGO she had been trying to get him to support.

The second incident allegedly took place in 2015, ameliarueda.com said.

But the woman also alleges that when she sought legal advice to file a complaint, three lawyers advised her against accusing Arias, the most influential political figure in Costa Rica.

After Arce von Herold’s accusation, though, she decided to try again.

Again she was rebuffed by two lawyers before finding someone to represent her.

“When I saw what happened with the new women and the MeToo movement, I thought that I should be brave because I could see that this was habitual behavior,” the former Miss Costa Rica said, according to the website.

She said the assault took place in Arias’s house after he contacted her through social media and invited her there to give her a book.

She said he “grabbed” her head and pulled her close to him before “he touched my breasts over my clothes and then gave me a kiss against my will.”

Arias served as president from 1986-90 and again from 2006-10.

He is currently the head of a foundation to promote peace and disarmament that bears his name.


Editor’s note: Katherine Stanley, Managing Editor of The Tico Times, worked in the Office of the President during Oscar Arias’ second presidency and provides English-language speechwriting services for Arias. She has recused herself from all reporting and editorial decisions for any story involving Arias, including this one.

This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.

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