French boy found living as recluse with mother

AFP - [email protected]
French boy found living as recluse with mother
Illustration photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

A 14-year-old boy was taken into state care in northwest France after he was found living as a recluse with his mother, who faces prosecution, officials and reports said Friday.


The teenager was born in the Philippines to a French mother, but brought up in Paris before moving to the city of Rennes without ever being registered with authorities or sent to school.

His mother, 48, was charged on Monday with neglecting her legal obligations and causing harm to a child, as well as causing harm by depriving a child of healthcare or food, which carries a maximum seven-year jail term, the local prosecutor's office said.

The mother's lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP it was wrong to see it as a case of "mistreatment", adding that his client was from a wealthy background.


"It's what is unusual in this case: he is over-loved. The mother is suffocating and allows him to do what he wants. He eats what he wants, and studies what he wants," he added.   

Authorities began investigating when the teenager was admitted to hospital in Rennes last July weighing only 25 kilograms, around half the norm for his age, and showing severe learning difficulties, the Ouest France newspaper reported.

Ludot said he weighed 33 kilograms when he was taken into state care.

"We were happy. Now we're both unhappy," the woman told the BFM news channel in an interview.

"I've been doing the best for my son from the beginning. Both by opening the world to him according to his age and protecting him."

His mother denied he had "ever gone to bed hungry" and said she allowed him to leave the home for cultural activities such as going to the library.

Homeschooling is only allowed in specific circumstances in France.

Parents can ask for permission to homeschool - for example for health reasons or a disability - but must agree to regular inspections from local education authorities.

READ ALSO Is the French government really planning to ban homeschooling?


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