On Monday night Buttet made his first public speech since his mayoral return on February 1st as the Collombey-Muraz commune finally discussed the issue that saw their mayor step down for nearly two months.
At a general meeting in the village, local councillors of all political parties were invited to comment on the matter, as was Buttet, who read a prepared speech in which he admitted his faults but also defended himself.
“I needed to correct some of my behaviour but I am not the monster that certain people made me out to be,” he said, as reported by Valais newspaper Le Nouvelliste and broadcaster RTS.
Telling the gathered audience that “in reality nothing is black and white,” Buttet said he had learned a life lesson in an “unusually brutal” manner that some say was deserved, others over-the-top.
“What’s certain is that I will never be the same again. I fell by my own hand, I got up again thanks to others. To keep standing, I will need your support.”
Buttet initially took sick leave and later resigned from his role as MP in the Swiss national council after it was revealed in December that he was facing a criminal complaint for harassing a former lover and colleague.
A number of other women – including journalists and politicians – then came forward with stories of being sexually harassed by the married MP in Bern, often when he was inebriated.
Buttet acknowledged he had acted inappropriately towards certain women, saying alcohol had affected his judgement and he would seek medical help to treat his drinking problem.
Buttet stepped down as vice-president of the Christian Democrat Party and took sick leave from his duties as mayor of Collombey-Muraz, though he was not forced to resign.
At Monday’s general meeting he confirmed the investigation related to the criminal complaint against him was ongoing, but no new legal proceedings for sexual harassment had been lodged.
After the affair broke the Swiss parliament issued a 'good conduct guide' to all parliamentarians and established an independent body to help fight against sexual harassment and support those affected.