Reporter accuses Russian presidential candidate of groping

Reporter accuses Russian presidential candidate of groping
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader, gestures after voting in the presidential election in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 18, 2018. Russians are voting in a presidential election in which Vladimir Putin is seeking a fourth term in the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A television news reporter has accused a five-time Russian presidential candidate of groping him as the sexual harassment scandal involving another lawmaker gains speed.

Renat Davletgildeyev, a reporter with Radio Free Europe’s Current Time TV, said on Thursday that Vladimir Zhirinovsky groped him at an event he covered in 2006. Zhirinovsky’s son has denied the allegations.

The ultranationalist Zhirinovsky leads Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and placed a distant third in the most recent presidential race with 5.6 percent of the vote.

Davletgildeyev’s allegation follows allegations against another LDPR lawmaker, Leonid Slutsky. Three women have accused Slutsky of sexual harassment.

After the parliament’s ethics committee found no violations in his conduct, nearly two dozen media outlets recalled their reporters from the State Duma in protest.