Head of Elite French College Resigns Following Professor Incest Case

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PARIS — The director of a prestigious French political science college resigned on Tuesday night, weeks after accusations of incest involving one of many college’s most distinguished figures had raised suspicions about who may need identified in regards to the allegations and stored silent.

Frédéric Mion, who has been the director of the college, Sciences Po, since 2013, mentioned in a letter to college students that he had determined to resign after a report from schooling ministry inspectors pointed to “errors in judgment in my dealing with of the allegations which have been communicated to me in 2018, and inconsistencies in the best way I communicated about this case after it arose.”

Mr. Mion, 51, had been underneath rising strain from college students to step down after it grew to become clear that he had taken no motion in opposition to Olivier Duhamel, a longtime professor who additionally headed the governing board overseeing Sciences Po, regardless of understanding of the accusations in opposition to him.

Within the newest in a sequence of sexual abuse scandals which have shaken France’s mental and political elite, Mr. Duhamel, a widely known 70-year-old mental, was accused by his stepdaughter, Camille Kouchner, of getting abused her twin brother beginning when he was 14.

Mr. Duhamel has since resigned from all of the positions he held, saying he was decided to “protect the establishments through which I work.” The Paris prosecutor’s workplace rapidly introduced that it was opening an investigation into allegations of rape of a minor and sexual aggression.

The accusations appeared in a ebook printed final month, “La Familia Grande,” by Mrs. Kouchner, who painted an uncompromising portrait of Mr. Duhamel but additionally of the small world of intellectuals, artists and politicians surrounding him, whom she accused of getting largely protected her stepfather.

“In a short time,” she writes, “the microcosm of individuals in energy, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, was knowledgeable. Many individuals knew, and most pretended nothing had occurred.”

Jean Veil, a distinguished Paris lawyer and really shut buddy of Mr. Duhamel’s, acknowledged within the newspaper Le Monde that he had identified of the sexual abuse however stored silent out of “skilled confidentiality.” Marc Guillaume, a prime civil servant and former secretary common of the French authorities, mentioned he had been advised of “sexual issues” — however not of incest accusations — involving Mr. Duhamel, based on the French journal Marianne.

Mr. Mion mentioned he was alerted to the allegations in 2018 by a former tradition minister, Aurélie Filippetti. He mentioned had no taken motion due to the shortage of tangible proof and since Mr. Veil advised him it was solely rumors.

However in a cellphone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Filippetti mentioned Mr. Mion had referred to as her after the accusations have been made public final month within the ebook and mentioned, “We shouldn’t let anybody suppose that we knew.”

Ms. Filippetti mentioned the decision had “chilled” her.

Again in 2018, she mentioned, she trusted Mr. Mion to “at the least” take away Mr. Duhamel from his place at Sciences Po.

“You’ll be able to’t simply sweep the whole lot underneath the carpet relating to one thing that dangerous,” Ms. Filippetti mentioned.

Léon Thébault, one of many many college students at Sciences Po who had requested for Mr. Mion’s departure, mentioned that the scandal “revealed the mechanisms put in place by Mr. Mion to protect an omertà” — however that ended up encouraging folks all through society to talk out on sexual abuse.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Mion mentioned the schooling ministry report confirmed “that no system of organized silence or complacency existed inside our institution.”

The accusations in opposition to Mr. Duhamel unleashed a torrent of accounts from folks throughout France who mentioned they’d been the victims of incest. The outpouring on French social media delivered to gentle what many take into account a pervasive drawback within the nation.

An impartial fee arrange by the federal government to analyze incest has been reinvigorated with the appointment of two new co-presidents. Its former president, Elisabeth Guigou, resigned in early January due to her shut ties to Mr. Duhamel, although she mentioned she had been unaware of the allegations of abuse.

Following the wave of accounts on social media, President Emmanuel Macron has pledged more durable legal guidelines on youngster sexual abuse.

“Immediately, disgrace is switching sides,” Mr. Macron mentioned in a video posted on Twitter. “Nobody can ignore these experiences any longer.”

Gaëlle Fournier contributed analysis.

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