An initiative was launched on Tuesday by Basel City Parents committee to “protect against sexualization in kindergarten and primary schools”.
Soon after the launch it emerged that one of the campaign’s driving forces, 60-year-old Benjamin Spühler, had previously been convicted of sexually abusing a young girl, newspaper Blick reported.
The newspaper said Spühler was sentenced in 1996 to three and a half years in prison for regularly abusing a girl aged between 12 and 15 years old.
Spühler told Blick on Thursday morning that he had never had sex with a child. Nevertheless, hours later he resigned.
“I knew nothing of such a judgment,” 38-year-old Sebastian Frehner of the Swiss People’s Party and co-president of the initiative committee told the newspaper. “It is clearly not on to have such a person fronting the campaign.”
The proponents of the initiative want to prevent children younger than nine from being taught any sex education at all, although certain education relating to child abuse would be permitted. From ages nine to twelve, the committee wants sex education to be non-compulsory so that families can choose to either opt in or out.
From age twelve onwards, the initiators say, children would receive education about sex and reproduction during biology lessons, which they argue is the proper place for such instruction.