PARIS — Prosecutors in France mentioned on Friday that they’d dropped their investigation into accusations of rape, sexual assault and harassment against one of the country’s best-known television news anchors, citing an absence of proof and an expired statute of limitations.
The information anchor, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, 73, was initially accused in February by Florence Porcel, a 37-year-old author, of raping her on two events, first in 2004, when she was 21 and he had invited her to observe his information present in individual after she wrote to him, and once more in 2009.
Seven different girls stepped ahead to accuse Mr. Poivre d’Arvor of sexual misconduct, however the police elected to close down their investigation after speaking to greater than 20 girls over 4 months.
Mr. Poivre d’Arvor, a star anchorman extensively recognized by his initials, PPDA, offered the prime-time night information for greater than 20 years, together with France’s most-watched information present, on the channel TF1, from 1987 to 2008.
He’s one of several prominent Frenchmen who have been accused of sexual abuse over the previous yr in France — a collection of scandals which have rocked the country’s political, cultural and media elite — however he’s additionally one in every of a number of who’ve seen the fees towards them dropped.
He has denied any wrongdoing, describing a few of the allegations as fabricated and saying that in different circumstances, the sexual relationships have been consensual. Attorneys for Ms. Porcel and for Mr. Poivre d’Arvor weren’t instantly reachable for remark.
Catherine Denis, a prosecutor in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris, mentioned in a press release that the rape accusations made by Ms. Porcel and 5 different girls that predated 2007 have been previous the statute of limitations, which was 10 years on the time. A 2017 legislation doubled the statute of limitations, for present and future circumstances, to twenty years, however with out retroactive impact.
Most of the accusations of sexual harassment or assault have been additionally previous the statute of limitations. For those who weren’t, Ms. Denis mentioned, there was not sufficient proof, like data of cellphone calls or proof that Mr. Poivre d’Arvor had made repeated sexual feedback, to assist the accusations.
Ms. Porcel’s 2009 accusation was not previous the statute of limitations, however Ms. Denis mentioned that there was “inadequate proof” to assist the allegations as a result of the police had not uncovered any proof enabling them to independently substantiate Ms. Porcel’s account.
The investigation included an evaluation of the “configuration” of the places of work the place Ms. Porcel mentioned the rape had occurred, the assertion mentioned. The investigators have been unable to “verify that it might have occurred out of sight” from different folks, as she had claimed.
This month, prosecutors additionally dropped an investigation into accusations of rape of a minor and sexual aggression by a outstanding political scientist, Olivier Duhamel, as a result of the statute of limitations had expired. Mr. Duhamel had been accused by his stepdaughter, Camille Kouchner, of sexually abusing her twin brother greater than 30 years in the past.
In 2019, prosecutors closed a rape investigation into the actor Gérard Depardieu, however this yr, he was charged with rape and sexual assault after new proof emerged.
Underneath French legislation, if a criticism filed with prosecutors is dropped, the plaintiff, below sure circumstances, can file a brand new criticism that robotically fingers over the case to unbiased investigative judges. Such motion additionally permits the plaintiff to pursue each civil and prison motion.
It was not instantly clear whether or not Ms. Porcel or any of the opposite girls who had accused Mr. Poivre d’Arvor may attempt to use that authorized instrument.
Mr. Poivre d’Arvor, who has written scores of books and hosted varied exhibits since leaving TF1, together with a literary program that ended shortly earlier than the accusations emerged, had filed a defamation lawsuit towards Ms. Porcel, accusing her of creating false claims towards him.
The Nanterre prosecutor’s workplace mentioned it was additionally dropping that go well with as a result of there was no proof that Ms. Porcel had proven any “intention of malice.”