• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Mass DNA tests of school boys to find toilet rapist

The Local/AFP · 14 Apr 2014, 10:48

Published: 14 Apr 2014 10:48 GMT+02:00

More than 500 male students and staff at a French school will undergo DNA tests from on Monday in a bid to discover who raped a 16-year-old girl in a dark school toilet.

The tests, a first in a French school, will end on Wednesday and target 475 high school students, 31 teachers and 21 others present on the premises on September 30 when the rape happened.

The schoolgirl was assaulted in the private Catholic Fenelon-Notre-Dame high school in the southwestern Atlantic port city of La Rochelle.

The attack took place after the light from an automatic time switch went off and she therefore could not give the physical details of her attacker.

There are a total of 1,200 students in the school.

The arrival of 16 officers at the school on Monday has naturally affected the atmosphere among the pupils.

“It remains tense, because this is the first time we have to do DNA tests, so it seems quite unique to us,” one pupil told Europe1 radio. “It’s disturbing to have to do the test, It’s bizarre.”

Others talked about the fear of finding out who the attacker was.

"We want to know [who it is], but deep down, we don't, because what if it is a very close friend?" one schoolgirl told Europe1. "We would not be able to live with that. It is monstrous what he did to this girl, it's horrible."

The cost of the operation will be around €5,000 ($6,940) and saliva swabs will be taken and matched with DNA found on the girl's clothes.

DNA from her clothes had tested negatively when matched with those of her family and close friends. The results are due out in a month.

Isabelle Pagenelle, the prosecutor of La Rochelle, said both parental and individual authorisation was necessary for minors undertaking the test.

She said there would be no forced DNA testing but added that "those saying no can become potential suspects who may be detained." Authorities said samples that do not match the DNA found on the victim will be destroyed.

Results not connected with the rape will be destroyed, Pagenelle said, adding that the tests were necessary to prevent further assaults and make the school safer.

Story continues below…

The school's principal Chantal Devaux said the rape had hitherto remained a secret and only investigators were in the loop.

The samples will be drawn using a swab under the tongue and the results of the tests are due in several months.
  
Prosecutors said they had decided to go ahead with the mass DNA tests after several months of investigation proved fruitless.

But some have condemned the move as a clear violation of civil rights.

"Refusing to give a DNA sample when not in custody is a right," prominent defence lawyer Joseph Cohen-Sabban told newspaper Le Figaro.

"It's ludicrous! They want to decide on taking someone into custody based on that person exercising their rights," he said. "Then, once in custody, it's against the law to refuse to give a DNA sample... This is a truly unacceptable abuse of process."

For more news from France, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The 11 different Americans that you'll meet in France
Photos: AFP, Steve Webel, menard-mickael/Flickr

The 11 different Americans that you'll meet in France
2 minutes ago

Which type of American expat are you?

Terrifying vid shows why you should avoid the sea in France
Photo: YouTube Screenshot

Terrifying vid shows why you should avoid the sea in France
34 minutes ago

Don't go down to the water in France, and definitely never turn your back to the sea.

France terror attacks
Schools: France vows to fight terror conspiracy theories
Some conspiracy theorists question whether police ever truly found this getaway cars used at the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Schools: France vows to fight terror conspiracy theories
2 hours ago

Recent terror attacks in France have got talk of police plots and government cover-ups flying among young people and France wants to put an end to it, as it fights radicalization.

French ski resorts 'lying about how long their pistes are'
Photo: AFP

French ski resorts 'lying about how long their pistes are'
2 hours ago

French ski resorts are telling fibs about the length of their slopes, according to a German report.

(Hardly any) French MPs back emergency powers reform
Photo: AFP

(Hardly any) French MPs back emergency powers reform
5 hours ago

French MPs backed enshrining state of emergency powers in the constitution, but 411 of them didn't bother to turn up.

More weather warnings as storms sweep through France
Waves break over the harbour of Lesconil, western of France. Photo: AFP

More weather warnings as storms sweep through France
5 hours ago

UPDATED: France's weather agency issued even more warnings on Tuesday as violent storms crashed through the north.

France threatens to unfriend Facebook in three months
France is threatening to break friends with Facebook unless it falls into line. Photo: AFP

France threatens to unfriend Facebook in three months
6 hours ago

France has given Facebook a deadline of three months to stop spying on users and sending data back to the US.

French taxi wars
Uber goes offline in France to support minicab strike
Uber drivers won't be working for most of Tuesday afternoon. Photo: AFP

Uber goes offline in France to support minicab strike
6 hours ago

With Uber going on strike, Parisians might have to actually get taxis today.

French train 'was 90km/h over limit' before deadly crash
Photo: AFP

French train 'was 90km/h over limit' before deadly crash
8 hours ago

An 'apocalyptic' train crash in November that left 11 dead has been blamed on "massively excessive speed" - the train was travelling 100km/h over the advised speed limit.

Opinion - Uberisation
'Uber's victory over taxis is sign of progress in France'
An Uber car overturned by taxi drivers during a recent protest. Photo: AFP.

'Uber's victory over taxis is sign of progress in France'
9 hours ago

Why the "victory" of Uber over France's traditional taxi drivers is a sign of hope for France, according to our guest blogger.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is a great place to work
Politics
Why France is unlikely to force UK to move border back home
Society
The French foods you need to eat (in moderation) to stay healthy
Lifestyle
So where do all the Americans live in France and where do they avoid?
Public warned as gale force winds and giant waves lash the French coastline
Lifestyle
How Paris plans to become a 'model' of cleanliness - that's not a joke
Only in France - Pig's entrails, cheese and steak sold in vending machines
Travel
Wait... that's not snow! Check out France's most unique ski slope
Culture
Don't panic, France isn't bidding a final adieu to the circumflex
Culture
VIDEO: UK group performs Shakespeare for Calais refugees
National
France cuts more red tape: E.G. No license needed to collect horse's sperm
Gallery
How France could really simplify the French language (for us learners)
Culture
Say good bye to 'oignon': How 2,400 French words will get new spellings
Sport
US calls on French help to prevent 'Paris-style' attack at Super Bowl
Culture
Betty Blue star Béatrice Dalle says she ate a dead man's ear (while on acid)
Analysis & Opinion
It's no surprise the French are losing faith in Hollande's war on terror
Culture
What's on: Here are 10 great things to do in France in February
Culture
The 300-metre monument Paris could have had instead of the Eiffel Tower
How a drunken stunt with a mattress on an Alps ski slope ended in tragedy
Culture
Chandeleur - The day the French get superstitious
Culture
Did fear of losing success drive top French chef to commit suicide?
See what changes in France from February 1st
Culture
'S**t! B**lox!'- Ramsay sees Versailles restaurant lose star
3,494
jobs available