Prosecutors close harassment case against French MP

Former deputy speaker of France's parliament Denis Baupin resigned the position after being accused of pinning a colleague against a wall and sending explicit text messages

French prosecutors closed a high-profile case Monday against a politician who was accused of sexually harassing colleagues last year in a scandal that led to criticism of parliament's macho culture.

Denis Baupin, one of several deputy speakers of the lower house of parliament, resigned the position in May last year after being accused of pinning a colleague against a wall and sending explicit text messages.

The Paris prosecutors' office said Monday that its investigation into sexual harassment had been closed because the allegations were too old, even though some incidents "could be classified as criminal acts".

The statute of limitations for harassment in France is three years. Some of the alleged incidents raised by eight colleagues who denounced Baupin dated back more than 15 years.

Baupin, a former member of the environmentalist EELV party who is married to Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse, has always denied any wrong-doing. His lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat said Monday that his "name and his honour have been damaged".

One of his accusers, Sandrine Rousseau, a senior figure in the EELV party, said she was satisfied that prosecutors had determined that some of the acts could be classified as criminal.

"I would have preferred that Denis Baupin was prosecuted," she told AFP.

A statement from four of the women who accused Baupin last year said that "no-one could now pretend to ignore this daily scourge" of sexual harassment of women in politics.

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