Former French minister convicted of rape

WION Web Team
Paris, France Published: Feb 18, 2021, 07:18 PM(IST)

Crime against women Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Georges Tron, 63, was a cabinet minister under prime minister Francois Fillon when he was forced to resign in 2011 over allegations made by two women who worked for him while he was mayor of Draveil, outside Paris.

A former French government minister faces at least three years in prison after a court found him guilty of raping an employee during "foot massages" in his office and at the home of his co-defendant. The verdict has come after nearly ten years of legal battles that initially led to an acquittal.

Georges Tron, 63, was a cabinet minister under prime minister Francois Fillon when he was forced to resign in 2011 over allegations made by two women who worked for him while he was mayor of Draveil, outside Paris.

France has been confronting a wave of sexual assault allegations that has pushed the government to promise tougher laws to protect victims and punish assailants. The country has been roiled by thousands of women breaking their silence since last year's publication of "Consent" by Vanessa Springora, whose account of abuse by a prize-winning author while she was still a minor has just been translated to English.

The women said that between 2007 and 2010, Tron, known for practising reflexology as a hobby, imposed foot massage sessions that would involve groping and digital penetration, at times turning into threesomes with his deputy Brigitte Gruel.

Virginie Ettel and Eva Loubrieu testified that they felt powerless to resist the politician over fear of losing their jobs. Ettel later resigned, while Loubrieu was fired after being accused of theft.

But the court convicted Tron of raping only Ettel, saying he had applied "psychological constraint" because she was his direct subordinate at city hall.

Gruel was handed a suspended two-year sentence.

Tron and Gruel deny the allegations, which were rejected just over two years ago by a court that found no use of force and said the women appeared motivated by a desire for "vengeance." Tron's lawyer at the time, Eric Dupond-Moretti, had declared "a victory for justice."

(with inputs from AFP)

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