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France launches probe into sex assault claim against 94yo ex-President d'Estaing

France launches probe into sex assault claim against 94yo ex-President d'Estaing
An investigation has been launched into former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing after a German journalist accused the ex-leader – who is in his 90s – of repeatedly groping her after an interview in 2018.

French prosecutors decided to go ahead with the probe onMonday, following a complaint from Ann-Kathrin Stracke, a reporter for the German public broadcaster WDR, alleging the statesman grabbed her behind several times while posing for a photograph in his office in Paris after the December 2018 interview.

I was standing to his left, and while taking the photo, he put his hand on my left waist before sliding it to my backside where it stayed.

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In her complaint – which she brought to prosecutors in March after an independent inquiry by WDR – the journalist said he repeated the same action three separate times as she attempted to remove d’Estaing’s hand “several times and with all [her] strength,” but to no avail, adding “I felt like he insisted.”

While Stracke drafted a 13-page complaint at the behest of her employers once she returned to the WDR office in Cologne, she says she decided to go public with the story after more than a year with encouragement from the #MeToo movement, saying “people should know that a French former president harassed me sexually.”

Though D’Estaing, 94, has yet to comment on the allegations himself, his office manager told Le Monde the ex-president had “no memory” of the meeting with Stracke.

D’Estaing served as the president of France between 1974 and 1981, and continues to sit on France’s Constitutional Council, which is tasked to review laws to ensure they are consistent with the country’s founding document.

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