Russian lawmaker cleared of sexual harassment accusations

The Russian parliament's commission on ethics has cleared a senior member of the lower house, who has been accused of sexual harassment in a case that has caused nationwide attention.

The panel decided Wednesday that the groping accusations against Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee, were unfounded.

Slutsky has been accused of sexual harassment by three female journalists. One of them, Farida Rustamova of the BBC's Russian Service, said in a story published earlier this month that during a visit to Slutsky's office last March, he urged her to dump her fiance, then "ran his hand, the flat of his palm, up against my nether region."

Slutsky initially mocked the accusations, but facing public outrage said that he didn't mean to offend anyone.