French prosecutors open rape probe against former deputy mayor of Paris

French prosecutors said Tuesday they were opening a preliminary rape investigation into a former deputy mayor of Paris after a man accused him in a newspaper article of years of sexual abuse.

The probe against Christophe Girard will look at charges of alleged “rape by a person in a position of authority”, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said in a statement.

The move came swiftly after the New York Times reported the allegations of Aniss Hmaid, now 46, that Girard had sexually abused him over nearly a decade after they met in Tunisia when he was 15.

Hmaid claimed Girard sexually abused him when he was 16, and then coerced him into sex on about 20 further occasions over several years.

The prosecutor’s statement said the investigation would aim to determine if the allegations “could be characterised as a crime” and also, given that the alleged events date back several decades, whether they can still be prosecuted.

Girard resigned as deputy to Mayor Anne Hidalgo in July afer opposition politicians and women’s groups demanded his suspension over ties to Gabriel Matzneff, an award-winning writer who has never hid his preference for sex with adolescent girls and boys.

After the prosecutor’s announcement, Girard said he would also step back from his remaining duties as a member of the Paris city council “for the duration of the preliminary enquiry and to better defend myself”.

His lawyer, Delphine Meillet, criticised Hmaid Tuesday for having gone to the media with his story rather than the authorities.

Now, she said, “the prosecutor feels obliged to open an investigation in the light of media pressure, which is particularly sensitive on these subjects…”

But Meillet insisted “there is no offence” and even if there had been, it was legally too late to prosecute now [ . . . ]

Continue at FRANCE24: French prosecutors open rape probe against former deputy mayor of Paris

Does Polanski’s César award highlight a deep problem in French society?

The elite world of French cinema is divided over the 45th César Awards ceremony, the French equivalent of the Oscars. A movie by the controversial and divisive Franco-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski won three awards, including the coveted Best Director prize. This was a bitter pill to swallow for many, including feminist groups who had called for a boycott of the ceremony. The incident once again ignited a fierce debate about the question of “separating the man from the artist”. Does this episode highlight a deep-rooted problem in French society? And are things slowly starting to change?

Source: Does Polanski’s César award highlight a deep problem in French society? – French connections

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Canadian nun, sexologist: Catholics must increase their sexual maturity 

Immaculate Conception Sister Marie-Paul Ross told the French-language Canadian news agency Presence info that the faithful must accept that ecclesial structures might need to change.

QUEBEC CITY (CNS) — A Canadian nun with a Ph.D. in clinical sexology said the sex abuse crisis in the church does not mean “the end of faith” but rather “the end of a lack of formation and the end of deviance,” and a call to return to Jesus’ message of love.

Immaculate Conception Sister Marie-Paul Ross told the French-language Canadian news agency Presence info that the faithful must accept that ecclesial structures might need to change.

“If we really want to save the faith, the spiritual experience of the people, the depth of Christianity, and focus on evangelical values, we have no choice but to let go of the structures Continue reading “Canadian nun, sexologist: Catholics must increase their sexual maturity “