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Former Paris deputy mayor ‘charged with rape’, say sources

A former deputy mayor of Paris accused of sexual harassment by a co-worker was charged on Friday with rape and other sexual assaults, several sources said.

Former Paris deputy mayor 'charged with rape', say sources
Pierre Aidenbaum stands behind Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo at a silent march in honour of a murdered Jewish woman. Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP
Pierre Aidenbaum, 78, stepped down as deputy mayor last month just weeks after another deputy mayor quit due to protests over his links to a known paedophile.
   
He was questioned by a judge on Friday and charged, a source close to the case who refused to be named told AFP.
   
A judicial source, who also wished to remain anonymous, added Aidenbaum had been banned from contacting any victim or witness, and cannot show up at city hall.
   
His lawyer Maud Touitou told AFP Aidenbaum had been “hit hard” by the accusations against him “and the suffering expressed”.
 
   
 
Aidenbaum's resignation last month came after another deputy to Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Christophe Girard, quit in July.
   
Opposition politicians and women's groups had demanded his suspension over ties to Gabriel Matzneff, a writer who has never hidden his preference for sex with adolescent girls and boys.
   
Girard has since himself been accused of sexually abusing a minor in a New York Times report he has vehemently denied.
   
Aidenbaum remains on the city council despite his resignation as deputy mayor, but on Friday Hidalgo asked him to give up his seat “immediately”.

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LAW

French President Macron says France’s laws on child sex abuse must change

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday January 23rd that the law had to change to better protect victims of child sexual abuse, after thousands shared their stories in response to a newly published book.

French President Macron says France's laws on child sex abuse must change
Yoan VALAT / POOL / AFP

“Today shame is switching sides” from victims to perpetrators, Macron said in a video posted to Twitter, welcoming the fact that “people feel free to speak everywhere in France”.

The flood of testimony under the social media hashtag #Metooinceste followed the early January publication of a book, “La familia grande”, by Camille Kouchner.

In it she accused her step-father, prominent political commentator Olivier Duhamel, of having abused her twin brother. Macron did not directly address that case.

But in a short video posted to Twitter, he promised those speaking out online: “We are here. We're listening to you. We believe you. And you will never be alone again.”

And he added: “We have to adapt our laws to better protect child victims of incest and sexual violence.”

Promising to “punish criminals for their acts in the past and prevent them ever reoffending”, Macron said the law would be updated.

In 2018, France already pushed back the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against minors to 30 years.

But some people have argued such acts should never fall beyond the reach of the justice system.

“No-one can ignore these experiences any longer,” Macron said. “We have to hear and gather victims' testimonies even years, decades afterwards.”

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