Former Tucumán Governor Alperovich sentenced to 16 years in jail for sexual assault

Alperovich was convicted of abusing and raping his niece and former secretary between 2017 and 2018

Former Tucumán Governor José Alperovich was convicted Tuesday on nine counts of sexual assault for abusing and raping his niece and sentenced to 16 years in jail. He was also banned from public office for the rest of his life. 

A powerful politician, Alperovich ruled the province for 12 consecutive years (2003-2015) and served two terms as a national senator — the accusations surfaced in 2019 while he was serving his second term in the Senate, which he finished in 2021.

Judge José María Ramos Padilla convicted Alperovich on Tuesday night, marking the end of the trial that began last February. The last hearing began at 1 p.m. and Alperovich refused to give a final statement. 

“I won’t speak, your honor,” he said. 

After a seven-hour interval, the judge handed down the guilty verdict a little after 8 p.m. In his ruling, he also requested that three defense witnesses be investigated for allegedly giving false testimony. He ordered that the reports and testimonies of two therapists hired by Alperovich’s defense to analyze the victim be placed under review to “evaluate their work ethics.”

Alperovich was immediately placed under arrest and taken to a temporary jail before being assigned a permanent prison. He will remain there until at least April of next year, when he turns 70 and will be able to request house arrest. 

The victim’s lawyers put out a statement on her behalf, saying she was moved and relieved. “Five years after making the accusations, she got what she had always wanted, which was not fame nor money, but healing through justice,” the text read. 

The prosecutors’ office had asked for a 16-and-a-half year prison sentence. The victim’s attorney requested 22 years in jail, and the defense called for him to be acquitted.

The case against Alperovich

Alperovich was tried on 9 charges, including attempted sexual abuse, sexual abuse, and rape that took place in Tucumán and Buenos Aires between December 2017 and March 2018. At the time, he was working on his political campaign to become governor again.

The victim, whose identity remains anonymous to preserve her right to intimacy, filed a criminal complaint against Alperovich in November 2019. She also made the accusation public through a letter sent to local news site La Gaceta. The woman is the daughter of one of Alperovich’s first cousins and worked for him as a personal assistant.

“I didn’t want him to kiss me. He did it anyway. I didn’t want him to grope me. He did it anyway. I didn’t want him to penetrate me. He did it anyway,” the victim said in her letter, saying Alperovich is “her monster.”

Alperovich denied the charges. “I did not assault her. I am a living dead,” he said on February 5, when the trial began. That was the last time he attended court before the verdict — he followed the rest of the process via video calls. “I am 68 years old. I have 11 grandchildren, four children… I want the truth; this is killing me. Why would I ruin my life at my age?”

Although initially a member of the Unión Cívica Radical party, he switched to the Partido Justicialista, the main Peronist party, and managed to climb the provincial power system. He became a national senator in 2001 before running for governor 2 years later. After concluding his 12-year run as governor, Alperovich was elected senator again, finishing in 2021 in the midst of the accusations of abuse.

Alperovich’s wife, Beatriz Rojkés, was also a powerful figure in local and national politics. She served as a senator and was the upper house’s provisional president between late 2011 and early 2014, making her third in line for the presidential succession during that period.

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