Stepson files lawsuit against French professor after incest revelations

·2-min read

The stepson of prominent French political scientist Olivier Duhamel has pressed charges as police investigate the intellectual for child sexual abuse, lawyers said Tuesday. The case follows revelations of Duhamel’s alleged abuse by the man’s twin sister, Camille Kouchner, in a book published this month.

Duhamel, 70, resigned from his academic and media positions this month after his stepdaughter Camille Kouchner published a book, La Familia Grande, accusing him of sexually abusing her twin brother at the age of 14.

Kouchner’s brother, referred to in the book as “Victor” to protect his privacy, has now filed a legal complaint against Duhamel, his lawyer said in a statement on Tuesday.

Earlier in January, Paris prosecutors began investigating Duhamel over suspected rape and sexual abuse of a minor by a person in authority.

Tuesday’s statement said “Victor”, now 45, pressed charges following the opening of the preliminary inquiry, during which he was heard as a witness.

No comment from Duhamel

French law recognises incest as an aggravating factor in child sexual abuse cases in which accused and victim have family relations, even if not by blood.

Duhamel’s lawyer has not responsed to media requests for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.

Duhamel resigned from his post at the elite Paris Institute for Political Studies following the book’s publication, claiming to be “the object of personal attacks”.

Neither he nor his lawyer have directly commented on the accusations.

Taboo-breaking revelations

Kouchner’s relevations were followed by hundreds of testimonies of victims and survivors of sexual abuse by family members during childhood and adolescence under social media hashtag #MeTooInceste.

President Emmanuel Macron said France would tighten its laws on incest and seek to better protect children.

Incest survivors’ groups said the public testimonies, following the model of #MeToo revelations of sexual abuse and harassment, showed silence was lifting on a long-taboo topic.

Kouchner’s book was also the latest to shake up France’s elite cultural and intellectual circles.

It comes after publisher Vanessa Springora accused writer Gabriel Matzneff of abusing her as a minor in a book released in January 2020 and actress Adèle Haenel accusing director Christophe Ruggia of sexually harassing her when she was a teenager in November 2019.

(with newswires)