Top French political expert accused of incestuous sex abuse

January 5, 2021 GMT

PARIS (AP) — The prosecutor for Paris opened an investigation Tuesday into accusations of incestuous sexual abuse involving a prominent French political expert, Olivier Duhamel.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz announced the investigation into alleged “rapes and sexual abuses by a person exercising authority” over a child following public accusations made against Duhamel..

A book written by Duhamel’s stepdaughter, Camille Kouchner, accused him of abusing her twin brother during the late 1980s, when the siblings were 13-years-old. Excerpts from the book, set to come out later this week, were published Monday by French newspaper Le Monde and L’Obs magazine.

Duhamel said on Twitter that he was “the target of personal attacks” and stepping down from his professional positions, including as head of National Foundation of Political Sciences. The foundation manages the prestigious Sciences Po university in Paris.

Duhamel was also a political analyst on French television channel LCI and he presented a show on Europe 1 radio, making him well-known to the French public.

Kouchner said her brother told her about the alleged sexual abuse when they were 14. In her book, she said they had spoken about it at the end of the 2000s with their older brother, their mother and other family members and friends.

“I confirm that what my sister has written concerning the actions of Olivier Duhamel towards me is correct,” her brother told Le Monde.

The scandal echoes in France the publication one year ago of a book by French publisher Vanessa Springora, about her abusive relationship as a teenager with a writer in his 50s, Gabriel Matzneff.

Matzneff, an award-winning French author now in his 80s, celebrated pedophilia in his work but only experienced legal and professional repercussions in the #MeToo era. An investigation into whether he raped a minor decades ago was opened last year.