France Has Finally Outlawed Sex With Children Under 15 Following Incest Scandal

France has at last adopted a law which cracks down on sex with children and incest. 

The French parliament adopted legislation that classifies sex with a child under the age of 15 as rape bringing its penal code closer in line with many other Western nations.

Previously prosecutors in France had been be required to prove sex was non-consensual to obtain a rape conviction.

The move follows outrage on social media following allegations of incestuous abuse against a prominent intellectual earlier this year

RT reports: The Assemblee Nationale voted unanimously on Thursday to set the age of consent at 15, classifying sex with children under that age – as well as incestuous sex with anyone under 18 – as rape, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

“This is a historic law for our children and our society,” Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told lawmakers, adding that it sends a clear message that “children are off-limits.”

The law also includes tougher penalties on internet pedophilia, with anyone caught grooming children under 15 online facing 10 years in prison and a €150,000 (approximately $180,000) fine. Previously, French prosecutors could only bring charges of rape or sexual assault if they could prove an adult forced, threatened or tricked a minor into sex.

The new law did carve out an exemption for consensual relations between a minor and a young adult up to five years older – a so-called ‘Romeo and Juliet’ clause, named after the teens in William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. Dupond-Moretti defended its inclusion, saying he did not want “to put a youth of 18 on trial because he had consensual sex with a girl aged fourteen-and-a-half.”

A previous attempt by French lawmakers to set the age of consent floundered in 2018. It was inspired by the case of a 28-year-old who was caught having sex with an 11-year-old girl, but was initially not charged with rape. The new law was driven in part by a book published in January this year, however.

In ‘La Familia Grande’, Camille Kouchner accused her stepfather Olivier Duhamel of having abused her twin brother for years, starting when he was 14. She also claimed her mother’s “leftist intellectual friends” – as France24 put it – knew about the abuse, but kept it quiet. The conspiracy of silence apparently included her own father, former foreign minister and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) co-founder Bernard Kouchner. 

Duhamel, a prominent political scientist and TV pundit, has since resigned from public life. Earlier this week, French media reported he had confessed to the abuse to police.

Kouchner’s book prompted a Twitter user to publish their own accusation of incestuous abuse with a hashtag #MeTooInceste, which has since gone viral in France.

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