‘Jail Birkedal for sex with 15-year-old’: prosecutor

A Norwegian prosecutor has called for ex-Progress Party high flyer Trond Birkedal to be given a nine-month jail sentence if convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old boy and filming boys naked in the shower.

'Jail Birkedal for sex with 15-year-old': prosecutor
Photo: Tommy Ellingsen/Scanpix

Prosecutor Karsten Monsen said enough evidence had been presented this week at Stavanger district court to find Birkedal guilty of the most serious charges, newspaper Aftenbladetreports.

The 31-year-old Birkedal, formerly head of the right-wing populist party’s youth wing, resigned from all posts in the party after his arrest last March.

The Stavanger politician was seeking to become the local party chair at the time of his arrest.

Birkedal is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old youth party member in Oslo in 2008. He is also suspected of sexually abusing several other boys, and filming boys in the shower at his home.

Speaking in court on Wednesday, Birkedal claimed his now 18-year-old accuser had invented the story of their sexual relationship to impress his friends.

“My theory is that it would have been a feather in his cap to be able to say he’d had sex with Trond Birkedal. I think this started with him boasting of this happening before he was pressed by the party leadership to report it to the police, which is something he didn’t want to do.”

Birkedal shared a hotel room with the 15-year-old one night in 2008 but denied allegations the pair had engaged in massages, oral sex, and mutual masturbation, or that they had shared a shower. 

He is also accused of secretly filming four people showering at his home and six counts of getting boys aged 15-17 to carry out acts of a sexually abusive nature.  

The case rocked the Progress Party when it emerged that top officials, including party leader Siv Jensen, had known since 2009 of suspicions that Birkedal was in a sexual relationship with an underage member of the party’s youth wing.

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Leader of Norwegian populist party to step down

Siv Jensen, the former finance minister and leader of the anti-immigration Progress Party, has announced she is to leave the role and quit parliament.

Leader of Norwegian populist party to step down
Siv Jensen. File photo: AFP

“I have today informed the nomination committee in the Oslo Progress Party that I do not wish to be re-elected to parliament,” she said at a press conference at the Storting parliament.

“As such, I have also notified the party’s election committee that this, naturally, means the party must select a new leader at its national conference in May,” she continued.

Norway is scheduled to hold general elections later this year.

“It has not been easy to take this choice. But I am completely convinced that it is the right choice for both the party and me,” she said.

Jensen has already given her blessing to Sylvi Listhaug, the hardline former immigration and integration, and later justice minister, as her successor. Listhaug is the current deputy leader of the right-wing party.

The outgoing leader also backed Ketil Solvik-Olsen, a former second deputy leader, as the next deputy leader.

“They are to outstanding politicians who dare to be innovative, clear, take on debates and challenge the existing truths,” Jensen said.

The former minister has been a member of parliament since 1997 and took over as Progress Party leader from Carl I. Hagen in 2006.

She was finance minister from 2013 until January 2020, when the Progress Party withdrew from the governing coalition.

Jensen said her party’s recent sluggish poll ratings were not rated to her decision to step back from politics.

“I have, in all my time as party leader, said that it is a job and lifestyle which demands 120 percent, 24 hours a day all year round,” she also said.