Education minister sacked following statement on Caracal victim

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PM Viorica Dăncilă has dismissed Ecaterina Andronescu from the Education Ministry after the minister had stated during a TV show on Thursday evening that Alexandra Macesanu, the girl reported missing in Caracal, should not have got in the car of a stranger and that girls were educated by parents to avoid contacts with strangers “in her day”, thus suggesting it’s the girl’s fault she got in the car of an unknown person.

The incumbent minister of Culture, Daniel Breaz, has taken over the interim helm of the Education ministry.

I decided to dismiss Mrs Ecaterina Andronescu from the Education minister position today for the deeply wrong statements she made during a TV show. Her statements show lack of understanding, precisely in the Caracal case, but also in general regarding the way we should protect our children from kidnapping, assaults, abuse and human trafficking. It is an attitude lacking of all responsibility, which does not reflect the Government’s stance and that I don’t want it to be assimilated to the Cabinet I am running. Any side-slip by a member of the Government will be sanctioned in a similar way from now on. Likewise, I will publicly denounce any action or statement coming from our political foes if they try to take electoral advantage on the expense of the painful Caracal case”, the prime minister stated in a Facebook post.

Alexandra Macesanu, a 15-year-old teen girl from a village in Olt county has been reported missing in Caracal for over a week. The girl was hitchhiking to go from her house to Caracal last Wednesday and 66-year-old Gheorghe Dinca took her with his car. He confessed to murdering Alexandra after he had been arrested.

Andronescu: I found about my dismissal from the TV, my intention was not to blame Alexandra or her parents

Ecaterina Andronescu retorted that she had found out about her dismissal on TV, arguing that her statement had been misunderstood and that her intention had not been to blame Alexandra or her parents under any circumstances.

My statement was meant to underline our mission to protect children from these situations. My intention was not to blame Alexandra or her parents. I did not mean that, I am not that kind of person. See the TV show again. I went on saying that’s why the ministry will have to start a campaign across our schools as of this autumn to teach children to protect themselves”, Ecaterina Andronescu told Digi24.

The dismissed minister said she had no preliminary conversation with PM Dancila.  “I would have expected an explanation. I regret it, if the premier took this decision, I have nothing else to do anymore”, Andronescu concluded.

Liberals have previously asked on Friday morning for Andronescu’s dismissal following her controversial statement on Caracal victim.

Ecaterina Andronescu’s statement is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable for an Education minister. This statement is similar to others such as <her skirt was too short> and this type of mentality must be removed from the Romanian society. Mrs Ecaterina Andronescu should resign immediately“, said PNL deputy Mara Mareş. The Liberal MP also added that the minister should have come up with a solution for the transport of the pupils in the countryside instead.

Andronescu told Antena 3 on Thursday evening that Alexandra should not have got in a stranger’s car in the first place, claiming that “in her day, girls were educated by their parents to avoid getting in the car of a stranger and that, during the time of latchkey kids, children were taught within families and in schools to be more responsible”.

Moreover, Ecaterina Andronescu said she found out from the Olt School Inspectorate that Alexandra had a pass for the local transport and that’s why, her hitchhiking would have been unjustified.

However, the sacked minister forgot to mention that school buses transporting children from villages to Caracal are scarce during the school vacation, meaning there is one bus at 7 a.m. and another one at 5 p.m.

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