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Allegations Mount Against Former Costa Rican President Óscar Arias

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Sexual misconduct allegations mounted Wednesday against former Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias Sánchez as a fourth accuser came forward in a period of 48 hours.

The New York Times reports that Eleonora Antillón, a former talk show host known by her nickname, Nono, said in an interview that the former president sexually assaulted her in 1986 while he was a candidate and she was a press aide.

Arias, 78, has denied the allegations, according to the Times.

“In my public life I have promoted gender equality,” Arias said in a statement Tuesday, “because I believe that it is an indispensable means to achieve a more just and equitable society for all people.”

Accusations began to surface starting Tuesday after Semanario Universidad published accounts of a psychiatrist who claimed Arias assaulted her about four years ago, grabbing her and forcibly penetrating her with his fingers. She has since filed a criminal complaint against the former president.

Since the first allegation became public, two journalists and a book editor have come forward, according to the Times.

“People end up thinking, ‘If she dared, others will dare,’” Antillón, 60, said in a telephone interview, according to the Times. “I want to unmask the impostor politician.”

The wave of allegations mark significant momentum of the #MeToo movement in Latin America, particularly as they could tarnish the reputation of a revered former statesman who served two terms as president and has been lauded internationally.

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