Colombia’s Inspector General opened a disciplinary investigation against the national police chief over sexual misconduct and spying allegations.
In a press conference, Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez said that a preliminary investigation against Palomino had begun in December 2015, but after collecting testimony and video evidence of the existence of the prostitution ring, the government watchdog agency had decided to formally open the criminal investigation.
In addition to those claims, the general had already been facing public heat after three officials stated that Palomino in 1998 had sexually harassed a subordinate during an official ceremony.
Ordoñez referred to a video filmed by police captain Anyelo Palacios from 2008 that showed the then-police cadet and then-Senator Carlos Ferro talking openly about their intimate relationship and making reference to the police academy. Palacios has submitted further testimony claiming existence of an illegal gay prostitution ring within the country’s largest police school, the General Santander school in the capital Bogota.
A total of 300 cadets would have taken part in the prostitution ring allegedly led by Colonel Jerson Jair Castellanos, the former head of security of Colombia’s Congress.
Referring to the alleged misconduct of the senator, Ordeñez said to the press, “this modus operandi would have taken place presumably with the help and complicity of National Police officials, including national police chief General Palomino.”
Ferro has announced his resignation from his post as Vice-Minister of the Interior following the publication of the video.
The Inspector General has sent evidence to the Prosecutor General’s Office, who also have an investigation running surrounding the existence of the prostitution ring.
The Prosector General’s Office is also investigating the wiretapping of journalists who were investigating the prostitution ring and have signaled there is evidence the the National Police used their resources to trail and bug communication lines of the journalists.
President Juan Manuel Santos announced in December when the allegations against the police chief first broke that he would put together a high-level commission to investigate the alleged sexual misconduct and wiretapping by the National Police.
The Inspector General’s disciplinary investigation will likely put pressure on the president’s commission, which on March 9th will release its assessment.