Daily Archives: February 12th, 2021

QotD: “Elite French university caught up in deluge of sex abuse allegations”

Hundreds of students at the Sciences Po university and the network of ten affiliated schools have unleashed a torrent of rape and sexual abuse allegations against France’s top educational establishment.

The Institute of Political Studies, its official name, has for decades trained the cream of politicians, mandarins and the media elite. It was already caught up in a storm after abuse allegations against Olivier Duhamel, head of its governing board.

Under the #sciencesporcs — science pigs — hashtag started by Anna Toumazou, a feminist campaigner, the students allege that abuse is endemic and colleagues and staff are unwilling to take their complaints seriously.

The directors of several of the provincial establishments, including those in Strasbourg, Toulouse and Bordeaux, said this week that they had forwarded complaints to local prosecutors.

Juliette, a second-year student in Toulouse, said: “These words are hard to say, almost impossible to write . . . I was raped.” She said that no one had listened to her in 2018 but she reported the matter to police last week.

In Aix-en-Provence, Louise, a student, said that she reported being raped by a student in 2019 but a university inquiry rejected her claims and told her to attend classes on the nature of consent.

In Bordeaux, the Sciences-Po school has set up a unit to receive complaints from women students who say they were victims of sexual assault and rape.

Duhamel, 70, a powerful intellectual and informal adviser to President Macron, resigned all his posts last month after Camille Kouchner, his step-daughter, accused him in a book of sexually abusing her twin brother when he was a teenager.

Duhamel has made no denial and is under investigation by prosecutors.

Frédéric Mion, 51, the Sciences-Po director since 2013, resigned this week after admitting that he was aware of the allegations against Duhamel since 2018 but failed to act. A report by state investigators found senior figures at the institute knew of the claims as did the tightknit world of Paris intellectuals, artists and politicians whom Kouchner accused in her book of covering up her stepfather’s alleged crimes.

The inspectors’ report, leaked yesterday, has turned up the pressure on Marc Guillaume, the prefect, or state governor, of Paris and its region. Guillaume resigned as a member of the Sciences-Po board after acknowledging he had also been aware of the Duhamel affair.

The government called in the heads and demanded action after the latest disclosures. “It is time that this omerta is lifted,” Élisabeth Moreno, minister for equality, said after the meeting. Police have opened inquiries in Toulouse, Bordeaux and other campuses.

Prosecutors yesterday charged another Sciences-Po graduate, Dominique Boutonnat, 50, head of the National Centre for the Cinema, with the attempted rape of his godson, 22.

Macron and four of the six French presidents who preceded him have been graduates of Sciences-Po.