A rapist mayor has been able to run his town from behind bars in a "revolting" refusal to step down from the public office.
In February, Georges Tron, 63, was jailed for five years – two of which suspended – for the rape and sexual assault of a junior staff member at his town hall in the south Paris suburb of Draveil, in France.
The court cited the “moral constraint” Tron held over the employee in a subordinate role which he has denied and is trying to appeal through France’s highest court.
Despite being locked up, the mayor of Draveil is still attempting to run town hall meetings, with his instructions for the town’s budget read aloud.
The convicted sex abuser has been slammed by opposition politicians and feminist groups for clinging onto power.
Gabrielle Boeri-Charles, of the opposition group Transition Démocratique, Écologique et Sociale, said Tron no longer had the “moral authority” to run the town.
Furious demonstrators protesting outside the town meeting held up signs saying “scandalous” and “revolting,” The Guardian reports.
Feminist groups Osez le Féminisme and the European Association Against Violence Against Women at Work (AVFT) have launched an online petition calling on the government to remove Tron from his post.
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They said it was “inconceivable” that a criminal serving time, could remain in charge of a town and local police force.
Nous Toutes, a collective against violence against women, asked of the prime minister, Jean Castex: “What are you waiting for?”
Socialist senator Laurence Rossignol demanded the government remove Tron from his position but justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti argued that until Tron's appeal was over, it was “heresy” to act.
Rossignol pointed out that Dupond-Moretti had been Tron’s lawyer when the rape case first went to trial in 2018. She told the senate she could not believe the government had chosen Dupond-Moretti to reply, reports The Guardian.
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As a criminal defence lawyer, Dupond-Moretti has accused women of lying about rape and was “still doing so today” by arguing Tron should be thought of as innocent during his appeal process.
The government has the power to remove Tron but has failed to do so, Rossignol claims.
Tron was cleared of the rape and sexual assault of two female staff in his first 2018 trial but an appeal trial in February this year upheld the accusations from one victim and jailed Tron.
The town hall issued a press release on behalf of Tron following the guilty verdict, saying that he was refusing to resign and would “fight to prove my innocence”.
In 202, Draveil won his mayoral election for the fifth time since 1995, despite being accused of rape.
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