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Academic at centre of French incest scandal won't be charged: prosecutor

AFP logo AFP 14/6/2021 AFP
Olivier Duhamel talking on a cell phone: Olivier Duhamel, a well-connected French political scientist shown here in 2016, was accused of sexually abusing his stepson in a bombshell book this year © STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN Olivier Duhamel, a well-connected French political scientist shown here in 2016, was accused of sexually abusing his stepson in a bombshell book this year

A well-connected Parisian political scientist who was accused of sexually abusing his stepson in a bombshell book this year will face no charges because the alleged crimes fall outside the statute of limitations, prosecutors said Monday. 

Olivier Duhamel, an influential Left Bank establishment figure in Paris, was accused by his stepdaughter Camille Kouchner in January of abusing her twin brother when they were teenagers in the late 1980s.

Kouchner's book, titled "La Familia Grande," led to a major public debate over the prevalence of incest and child sex abuse in France, as well as a police investigation into the allegations against Duhamel. 

In a statement on Monday, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation had been dropped "because of the prescription of public action."

Until a law change in 2018, individuals had until 20 years after their 18th birthday to lodge a police complaint for sexual abuse. 

MPs voted to increase the time limit to 30 years in 2018. 

Duhamel, 71, was interviewed by police in April and admitted "with difficulty" to the allegations against him, a source close to the case told AFP at the time.

Just over three years since the #MeToo movement broke taboos around rape across the world, Kouchner's book provoked another outpouring of stories and a wide-ranging debate about sex, power and consent.

After publication, Duhamel was forced to resign his multiple positions spanning the media and academia.

The informal advisor to several French presidents also stepped down as head of the elite Parisian networking club Le Siecle. 

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