The Paris prosecutor’s office announced a preliminary investigation targeting former Paris deputy mayor Christophe Girard. The probe into allegations of rape involving a person of authority was prompted by a Tunisian man who told The New York Times that Girard forced him into sexual acts starting when he was 16.
Investigators will determine whether the alleged acts occurred too long ago to prosecute, the prosecutor’s office said. Girard’s lawyer, Delphine Meillet, said in a statement that the former deputy mayor denies the accusations “with the greatest firmness,” and threatened to sue for defamation.
Girard, long a major player in Paris politics and close to Mayor Anne Hidalgo, resigned last month amid public pressure over his defense of writer Gabriel Matzneff, who was accused in a book this year of raping a minor decades ago.
The author of the book, titled “Consent,” says Matzneff pressured her into a sexual relationship starting when she was 14-years-old and he was 50. Matzneff defended the relationship as “the exceptional love that we lived together.” His published works include detailed accounts about his relationships with minors.
The accusations prompted a belated #MeToo-style reckoning among France’s cultural elite over sexual misconduct by powerful people in their midst.