Rapist mayor who continued to run French town from his jail cell has been replaced

Rapist mayor who continued to run French town from his jail cell has been replaced
Ex mayor Georges Tron. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP
A French mayor who continued to run his town near Paris from jail after being convicted for rape has been formally replaced following months of pressure and criticism from women's rights groups.

The town council in Draveil elected deputy mayor Richard Privat late on Tuesday to replace Georges Tron who resigned at the end of May after more than 25 years at the helm – including four months running the town from his prison cell.

Tron, a junior minister under right-president Nicolas Sarkozy, began serving a three-year sentence in February for raping a council employee who the court found had been pressured into sex.

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Several women testified that Tron imposed foot massage sessions on them that would involve groping and digital penetration, at times turning into threesomes with his deputy Brigitte Gruel.

While feminists saw his conviction as a victory for France’s MeToo movement, Tron denied the allegations, saying that the foot massages were not sexual and that he was the victim of a political “plot”.

In his resignation letter at the end of May, he wrote of the “very painful decision” to relinquish his mayoral responsibilities, arguing that he should still be presumed innocent because he had not exhausted all legal appeals.

His decision to carry on running Draveil, a town of 30,000 people in the southern suburbs of Paris, outraged opposition councillors and women’s rights groups.

In April, at a council meeting attended by AFP, a subordinate opened proceedings by reading out a letter and instructions on the budget drafted by Tron, 63, in jail.

“The seriousness of the allegations for which Georges Tron has been found guilty deprive him of the moral authority needed to carry out his duties,” the opposition group in the council said in a statement at the time.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said in May that there was “ongoing work” into revoking Tron’s mayoral title, but he acknowledged “legal issues.”

Tron remains a town councillor and a member of the regional assembly, but this latter mandate expires at the end of the month.

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