Swedish Academy head quits Nobel body amid sexual misconduct scandal

Sara Danius has held the post of permanent secretary since 2015

The head of the Swedish Academy, which picks the victor of the Nobel Prize for Literature, stepped down on Thursday after criticism over how an investigation into a sexual misconduct was handled.

The crisis started last week after three male members resigned over the academy's vote not to remove a female colleague.

Danius said the row over the scandal had "already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely", referring to how defections from the Academy could impact the image of the Nobel Prizes and Sweden's reputation.

Sara Danius announced her decision on Thursday after a three-hour emergency meeting of academy members in central Stockholm. Unlike Swedish Radio, Reuters published the identity of the man and the Academy member as Mr. Jean-Claude Arnault and Mrs. Katarina Fronstenson.

In his second statement this week, Carl XVI Gustav, said that "it is crucial that all involved now realize their responsibility for the institution and contribute to resolving conflicts".

However, Olsson confirmed on Thursday that Frostenson, a member since 1992, was also resigning, "hoping that the Swedish Academy would survive as an institution".

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Academy members are appointed for life and resignations are extremely rare. Therefore, they can not resign but are technically refusing to participate without being replaced. However, there is nothing forcing them to actively participate if they choose not to do so.

State prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into the incidents, but said last month some parts of the probe had been shelved due to a lack of evidence and the statute of limitations having passed for some of the incidents.

The accused denies all the allegations.

"Jean-Claude Arnault rejects all claims of criminal activity and he rejects other allegations that have been made against him", Hurtig said.

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