World News

Former Paris town hall deputy under inquiry over suspected rape

PARIS (Reuters) - The Paris public prosecutor has opened a preliminary inquiry against former Paris deputy mayor Christophe Girard over the suspected rape of a minor.

“Following statements...published by the New York Times on Aug. 16 accusing Christophe Girard, the Paris public prosecutor has opened...a preliminary inquiry for rape by a person in a position of authority,” the prosecutor said in a statement on Tuesday.

Delphine Meillet, a lawyer for the 64-year-old Girard told Reuters the preliminary investigation was legally groundless although no surprise, saying it arose from “media pressure”.

Meillet also said Girard would file a complaint for slander on Friday.

In its statement, the Paris prosecutor said the investigations regarding Girard would “aim to precisely assess if the reported facts could be defined as a criminal offence and if, given they occurred a long time ago, the time limit for proceedings has already expired”.

Girard, a member of the Socialist Party that runs the French capital, resigned as deputy mayor and the city’s cultural councillor last month in a surprise move, citing what he called “a poisonous atmosphere”.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Matthieu Protard; editing by Mark Heinrich