The two women at the heart of a sexual misconduct case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange did not originally intend to press charges against him, according to a Wednesday report.
The women went to the police together because they wanted to have Assange tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) after both had unprotected sex with him, several people formerly connected to Assange told Reuters.
However, Assange had turned off his phone and fled the country, Reuters observed.
“Assange’s elusiveness may have worked against him in the Swedish investigation, which might well have gone nowhere had he taken the women’s calls and not left Sweden when police started looking into the allegations,” Reuters noted.
The story began in early August when Assange was invited to stay in the apartment of his first accuser, Anna Ardin, during a trip to Stockholm.
According to details gathered by Daily Mail, neither Assange nor Ardin dispute that they had consensual sex and a condom broke.
The next night, Ardin threw a party in Assange’s honor.
James D. Catlin, a lawyer who recently represented Assange, pointed out that during the party, Ardin tweeted that she was with “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!”
Earlier that same day at a conference, Assange had been introduced to his second accuser, Sofia Wilén. The two went see a movie together and described their contact as “initimate.”
Two days later, Assange traveled to Wilén’s home Enkoping. The two had sex that night and used a condom. The next morning, the two had sex again but Assange reportedly did not use protection.
For reasons that are not explained, Wilén decided to contact Ardin the next day because she feared that she was pregnant or Assange had given her an STD. Ardin explained that she had also had sex with Assange.
“How must Sarah have felt to discover that the man she’d taken to her bed three days before had already taken up with another woman?” Daily Mail asked. “Furious? Jealous? Out for revenge? Perhaps she merely felt aggrieved for a fellow woman in distress.”
Ardin had previously published a seven step guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends.
The two women went to the police together to seek advice on how to get Assange to submit to an HIV test. The police determined that both women were victims. Prosecutor Maria Kjellstrand decided that Assange should be sought on suspicion of rape but the chief prosecutor soon dismissed the charges.
Days later, Ardin admitted to a Swedish newspaper that the sex had been consensual and denied charges the CIA or Pentagon had set Assange up. “The accusations were not set up by the Pentagon or anybody else,” she said. “The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man with a twisted view of women, who has a problem accepting the word ‘no.’”
The two women retained the help of “gender lawyer” Claes Borgstrom, who was able to urge police to reopen the case.
The WikiLeaks founder faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Assange, currently imprisoned in the UK, has vowed to fight extradition to Sweden.