Fury as 20 firefighters who ‘had sex with girl, 13’ are NOT charged with rape because France has no age of consent laws

TWENTY firemen allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl – but they've not been charged with rape because France does not have an age of consent law.

The alleged victim, known only as Julie, claims she was raped by the firefighters from different stations over two years after she was groomed by a man named Pierre.

She claims to have met Pierre, who works for the fire brigade in Paris, when he helped her during a severe anxiety attack when she was aged 13 in 2008.

Three of the 20 men accused have admitted they had sex with the girl – however they claim they were consensual encounters.

Yet, Julie says she was "terrified and paralysed with fear" during the experiences.

She claims the men visited her home 130 times over the 24 month period leading to her mental and physical health suffering.

Julie told police that she was scared to leave the house and was prescribed anti-anxiety pills.

'GROOMED AND ABUSED'

It is alleged that Pierre obtained Julie's contact number from her medical file which also clearly stated her age.

She claims he bombarded her with "affectionate messages" before asking her to undress in a video chat.

Julie alleges that Pierre passed her phone number to another firefighter after she agreed to take her clothes off.

Her mother told cops that she was initially pleased that Pierre was taking an interest in her daughter's health.

She said: "I even made a cake for the firemen.

What is the age of consent in France?

In France, there is no official age of consent.

However, adults who sleep with children under the age of 15 can be convicted – yet lawyers have to prove the sex was non-consensual to obtain a conviction of rape.

If the underage victim cannot prove they were forced or coerced into sex, then the accused may only be charged with sexual violation which carries a maximum jail term of just seven years.

In 2018, protests over a case of a man in his late-20s having sex with an 11-year-old led to a change in the consent laws being proposed in France.

However, the law was not passed after a report by the government said such a change would lead to "an assumption of guilt."

"We were grateful that they had looked after Julie when she was ill.”

But the mum alleges that Pierre raped her daughter in January 2009 when she took the dog out for a walk leaving the fireman alone with Julie.

In November of that year it is alleged that Pierre took the then-14-year-old back to his apartment in full uniform and raped her.

Two other firefighters then came over and allegedly gang-raped the child as they watched pornography.

The case, which is being examined in the country's highest court this week, has sparked nationwide.

'GANG RAPED'

Activists are hoping it will lead to an age of consent finally being confirmed in French law.

Lawyers at the court of cassation, the Supreme Court of appeal, will argue that all 20 me should be charged with rape.

Currently, only three of the group are charged with "sexual violation."

Under French law, there is no official age of consent.

Yet, while adults who sleep with kids under the age 15 can be charged – prosecutors have to prove the sex was non-consensual to obtain a conviction of rape.

You’re Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember, www.uk.movember.com
  • Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm

 

After Julie was taken off her medication in 2010, she told her mum about the abuse who then filed a complaint to the police.

The men alleged to have raped Julie at Pierre's home were probed and two admitted to having "group sex" with the child.

A third admitted to a sex act with her in a hospital toilet while she was being treated in Paris. He claims he did not know the underage hospital patient was vulnerable.

After a judge was appointed to probe the three men in March 2011 it took eight years for the magistrate to drop the rape charges.

The charges were replaced with “consensual penetrative sex with a minor under 15”.

"Failure to protect" charges were also dropped against four other men who watched one of the alleged rapes.

In 2019, Julie attempted suicide after hearing the results of the investigation.

Marjolaine Vignola, the victim's legal advocate, said: “Every stereotype about rape is in this case: the judges and the psychiatrist say Julie is a liar, that she consented to sex with all those men, and that she is lying about being raped because she is ashamed.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.

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