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Former French minister jailed for rape

Paris: A former French secretary of state has been jailed for raping and sexually assaulting an employee as a wave of sexual abuse scandals rocks the country.

Two former employees of Georges Tron, mayor of the small Paris suburb of Draveil and a former secretary of public affairs, accused him of multiple assaults and rapes, perpetrated with the help of his deputy at the time. He has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Brigitte Gruel, his deputy, was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Georges Tron in 2010.Credit:AP

The verdict was delivered following a 10-year fight for justice as a wave of sexual abuse scandals shocked France, with investigations into a number of politicians including the minister for the interior.

Tron, mayor of Draveil for 25 years, frequently gave employees foot massages, which they did not feel comfortable refusing, and which in one instance led to the assault on Virginie Ettel, according to court documents seen by the London Telegraph.

She later said: “I still can’t believe it. When I heard all the facts had been accepted as true it was a relief because that’s what I’ve been wanting for 10 years.”

Tron and Gruel contributed to creating a “hypersexualised environment” at Draveil’s town hall, the documents said.

Tron was a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government until 2011.

The charges were dropped in 2018 due to “insufficient evidence” but a jury at an appeal this week upheld Ettel’s accusations. Tron was cleared of the accusations lodged by Eva Loubrieu, another employee.

In France, the global MeToo movement had been slow to catch on but has undergone a revival in the past few months as the MeTooInceste and MeTooGay campaigns took hold, with survivors telling their stories of abuse.

An investigation into rape accusations against Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, has now been reopened.

The Telegraph, London

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