• 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."

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

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fêtes de Bayonne
France's wildest festival gets underway amid tight security
Festival goers in Bayonne - a sea of red and white. Photo: AFP

Over the coming days around a million revellers are expected at what is arguably the wildest, most raucous and most colourful event in France.

Media in France pull photos of jihadists to stop 'glorification'
Many media in France will stop publishing photos of the likes of Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah (above).

Mainstream media in France decide to stop publishing photos of jihadists behind terror attacks to avoid giving them the notoriety and glory they seek.

France could cancel summer events over terror fears
Photo: AFP

Summer events in towns and villages across France could be cancelled if there is a lack of security.

VIDEO: Police raid on French church captured on video
Photo: Le Telegramme

Part of the police stand-off at the church in northern France where two jihadists killed a priest was caught on camera by a witness.

EU picks Frenchman to lead Brexit talks with UK
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman will lead the fraught Brexit talks between the EU and the UK over the coming years.

France seeks unity and resists calls to toughen terror laws
Photo: AFP

Does France need tough new laws or cohesion and unity among its communities?

The best and worst things about France in the summer
Photo: AFP

There are some things that make France the best place to be in summer, and then there are others that drive us mad.

Air France passengers set for week of travel misery
Photo: AFP

One third of Air France flights to be scrapped on Wednesday as week-long strike begins.

How was 'ticking time bomb' free to attack French church?
Photo taken from Facebook page believed to belong to Adel Kermiche.

France facing more questions about security measures after priest slain during mass by known extremist who was awaiting trial.

France faces same big questions after latest attack
Photo: AFP

The latest terror attack has left France facing similar questions to those it has tackled numerous times since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January last year. So how will France react?

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
2,764
jobs available