No investigation, for the moment. The Paris prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday May 25 that it is not opening a preliminary investigation, “as it stands”, into the rape charges against the new Minister of Solidarity, Damien Abad. “As it stands, the Paris public prosecutor’s office does not follow up on the mail from the Observatory of sexist and sexual violence”, which transmitted to it the testimony of two women accusing Mr. Abad of rape, “for lack of element allowing to ‘identify the victim of the facts denounced and, therefore, for lack of possibility of proceeding to his detailed hearing, “said the prosecution to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
According to an investigation published by Mediapart, Saturday May 21, a report for alleged acts of rape, dating back to 2010 and 2011, concerning the former boss of the deputies Les Républicains (LR) and new Minister of Solidarity, Autonomy and disabled people, Damien Abad, was sent by email to the parties La République en Marche (LRM) and LR by the Observatory of sexist and sexual violence in politics between May 16 and 20. It is based on the testimonies of two women.
With this decision not to open an investigation “as is”, the Paris public prosecutor’s office is applying the criminal policy it has implemented for several years in terms of sexual violence: an investigation is systematically opened as soon as a minor victim at the time of the facts is mentioned, even in the absence of a complaint, in particular in order to check whether there are no others. If the facts concern adults, the prosecution reserves the right to open an investigation only if the victim(s) submit a complaint.
Dismissal of two previous complaints
It was following the receipt of the testimony of “Chloé” (the first name has been changed at her request), on May 13, that the Observatory had transmitted, at her request, her report to the management of LR and LRM . This woman, now 41, described the rape she said she suffered in 2010 and mentioned the existence of a rape complaint filed in 2017 by another woman against Mr. Abad – dismissed.
Information confirmed by the organization created in February by initiators of the collective
One of the victims had gone to a police station to testify in 2012, then had filed a complaint in 2017. The prosecution had announced on Sunday “that a first complaint filed for acts of rape was dismissed on 6 April 2012 due to the complainant’s default”. A second complaint “for the same facts was dismissed on December 5, 2017” for lack of “sufficiently serious infringement”.
“I have never raped a single woman in my life,” defended Damien Abad on Monday May 23, who does not plan to resign. “Should an innocent man resign? I don’t believe so,” he added. In a written response to Mediapart, Damien Abad also contests the accusations of the two women and “strongly asserts that the sexual relations that [he may have] have always been based on the principle of mutual consent”. The minister claims to have “obviously never drugged anyone” nor “never accompanied by a woman without her consent”.
Regarding the complaint against him, Mr. Abad argues with Mediapart that it is “physically impossible for him to commit the acts described” because of his disability – he has arthrogryposis, a disease which blocks his joints and reduces his mobility.
“The fight against violence against women is a priority”
Asked whether or not the executive was aware of the accusations against Mr. Abad, before their revelation, the new government spokesperson, Olivia Grégoire, assured Monday, May 23, at the end of the Council of Ministers, that this was not the case: “To my knowledge, no member of the government had knowledge of these facts. In the composition of a government by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, the HATVP [High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life] and the General Directorate of Public Finance are consulted, it is not the political parties that are consulted . »
Tuesday, on the set of “Four Truths”, of France 2, Ms. Grégoire had argued that “the President of the Republic and Elisabeth Borne have made the fight against violence against women a priority” of the second five-year term of Mr. Macron. “In these cases there is the stake of the restoration of the truth. Justice, twice, expressed itself and closed this complaint without further action,” she said.
“If there were other women, if the prosecution was seized, then I would come and comment on it. My job is to comment on government action, not assumptions,” she continued, adding, “In addition to justice, Damien Abad is a candidate and puts his personal word on the line as part of the legislative. »