• France edition
 
Mum on trial over son's rape in jail visiting room
The woman allegedly sexually assaulted her son repeatedly - sending video of the attacks to her jailed partner, before aiding in the toddler's rape during a "conjugal" visit. Photo: Mehdi Fedouach/AFP

Mum on trial over son's rape in jail visiting room

Published: 23 Sep 2013 12:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Sep 2013 12:19 GMT+02:00

In a case which could lead to the prison itself also facing legal action, Sabrina Bonner, 25, and the step-father, her partner Lionel Barthelemy, 31, are charged with multiple sexual assaults on the boy, who is now eight and in the care of social services.

Barthelemy admits raping the child in the visiting room at the Toul detention centre in eastern France in February 2010, but claims it was an isolated act initiated by Bonner.

She claims the prison incident and other rapes which she filmed were carried out under orders and the threat of violence from her partner, who allegedly listened to one assault from his prison cell on his mobile phone.

The trial, which is due to run for three days, will shed light on why prison staff failed to stop, or even notice, an act of such brutality taking place during what was supposed to be a supervised visit to a prisoner serving a sentence for domestic violence who had been diagnosed as having schizophrenic tendencies.

Prosecutors have indicated they will present evidence that black bin bags were used to cover the glass window of the door to the room in which the visit took place and that, as in other French prisons, this was standard practice to allow prisoners privacy with their partners during visits.

Yannick Pheulpin, the advocate representing the little boy, said he intended, at the end of the trial, to initiate legal proceedings aimed at holding the prison to account for the suffering of the child.

The prosecution alleges that Bonner blindfolded her son and made him kneel on a chair in front of Barthelemy, then held him by the arms as he was raped.

"Mrs Bonner made herself an accomplice to the crime by bringing her son to the visiting room twice on the same day: once in the morning when a first rape took place and a second time in the afternoon, knowing perfectly well that it was going to happen again," Pheulpin said.

Bonner has admitted carrying out multiple sexual assaults on her child during 2009 and 2010, filming them on her mobile phone and giving the phone's memory card to her imprisoned partner.

She gave herself up to police in May 2011, shortly before Barthelemy was due to be released from prison.

"She will not try to minimise her responsibility," her lawyer, Dominique Bergmann, said.

Bonner and Barthelemy face maximum prison terms of 20 years if convicted as charged.

This isn't the only scandal to have hit French prisons in recent years.

Back in February 2012, the director of a women's prison west of Paris was himself sent to jail for having an affair with one of the inmates, including having sex with her repeatedly in an IT room.

During the spring, it took authorities six weeks to track down and capture Redoine Faid, a notorious French gangster who made a daring escape from jail, taking four prison guards hostage along the way.

In June, a judge took the rare step of ordering the release of a prisoner near Paris, due to the shocking condition of his cell. A hole in the ceiling left him cold and wet as wind and rain blew into the tiny living quarters.

There was widespread anger and embarrassment in August, when a legal technicality caused a French judge to pave the way for hundreds of convicted criminals to walk free from French prisons.

Don't miss stories like this - join The Local France on Facebook and Twitter

AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French Iliad founder says T-Mobile offer is 'real'
Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

French Iliad founder says T-Mobile offer is 'real'

French telecom upstart Iliad's founder said Friday that the company's offer for US-based T-Mobile is "real" and that he is open to working with partners on a deal. READ  

Air France grounds flights ahead of strike
Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Air France grounds flights ahead of strike

Air France has cancelled some of its short and medium-haul flights from airports across France on Saturday due to a strike by ground staff on one of the busiest travel days of the year. READ  

Tête-à-tête - August in Paris
'You'd have to be crazy to stay in Paris in August'
Is Paris in August heaven or hell? Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

'You'd have to be crazy to stay in Paris in August'

The eternal debate of whether staying in Paris for the month of August is pure joy or punishment is taken up here by The Local's Joshua Melvin and Ben McPartland. They debate the heat, tourists, Paris plages, and the seductive call of the rest of France. READ  

Foreigners less likely to get jobs than French
Foreigners in France are more likely ti turn up in queues at job centres it seems, than locals. Photo: AFP

Foreigners less likely to get jobs than French

Foreigners from outside the EU suffer from a much lower employment rate in France than native citizens and EU immigrants, a study confirmed this week. READ  

French PM takes a swipe at eurozone's policies
French MP Manuel Valls has blasted the eurozone's economic policies. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

French PM takes a swipe at eurozone's policies

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has launched a timely tirade against European finance chiefs for their ineffective economic policies. It comes as indicators show the French economy's recovery is lagging behind its neighbours. READ  

Holiday travel chaos
Steer clear of French motorways, drivers told
Stay off the roads in France this weekend, unless you need to travel that is, in which case prepare for delays. Photo: AFP

Steer clear of French motorways, drivers told

Drivers in France are being warned to steer clear of French motorways on Friday night and Saturday. With July and August holidaymakers set to cross over, the weekend is set be one of the busiest of the year on French roads. READ  

Plan to make stores give unsold food to charity
French lawmakers are trying to make it illegal for big supermarkets to throw away food. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Plan to make stores give unsold food to charity

A collective of French lawmakers have proposed legislation that would force larger supermarkets to donate out of date food to charity rather than throw it away. The politicians behind it say waste is “the scourge of our consumer society.” READ  

France gets tough on anti-Semitism and racism
France's top cop cop urges crackdown on anti-Semitic acts. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

France gets tough on anti-Semitism and racism

France’s 'top cop' has been forced to remind local authorities of their duty to report all acts of racism and anti-Semitism to law enforcement officials so culprits can be prosecuted. The move comes as the Gaza crisis has led to increased tensions in France. READ  

Paris police lose 51 kilos of cocaine at HQ
Police police are looking for 51 kilos of cocaine they have lost. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Paris police lose 51 kilos of cocaine at HQ

Paris police have lost 51 kilos of cocaine that were locked up in the legendary police headquarters in the city centre. This embarrassing lapse comes mere months after a much more serious case of misconduct at the same building. READ  

French bombard Google with pleas to be forgotten
Thousands of French have bombarded Google with requests to be forgotten - more than any other nationality in Europe. Photo: AFP

French bombard Google with pleas to be forgotten

French internet users have bombarded Google with requests for links to be deleted from the search engine, but the internet giant has told European officials it's proving difficult to clear their memories. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Air France strike set to hit holidaymakers. Latest info here
National
France honours Jean Jaurès, 100 years after he was assassinated
National
Nudity on the beaches of France: Dos and don'ts
National
Hospital opens patient wine bar with 'medically supervised' wine tasting
Society
Will France ban this violent Jewish fringe group?
Culture
Why are the days of going topless in France coming to an end?
Travel
Reckless or adventurous? US dad takes his two children up Mont Blanc
National
From manure to money: Ten bizarre facts about the French Parliament
Culture
Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens
International
Is France really Europe's biggest public spenders?
National
Could your job in France soon be done by a robot?
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se