14:41 GMT29 November 2020
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    European Parliament Member and Vice President of France’s Democratic Movement (MoDEM) Party Robert Rochefort has been taken into custody after he allegedly masturbated in public, in front of teenagers.

    The incident reportedly occurred on Wednesday at a DIY hardware store in the city of Velizy-Villacoublay, located in the Yvelines department of the north-central French region Île-de-France.

    French media reported that the 60-year-old politician was caught by a security guard who saw him pleasuring himself with pants at half-mast in front of two teenage girls. The vigilant guard called police, and Rochefort was immediately detained.

    ​According to French channel RTL, Rochefort admitted to the charges brought against him at first, telling police officers that he "needed to masturbate" because he felt under pressure.

    He denied the accusations later in an interview with the news channel BFM TV, saying that he only admitted to the indecent exposure because he was caught off balance by the arrest. He didn't want to spend the night in jail and panicked.

    ​"This is crazy and very serious if it is true," said the head of MoDEM party, Francois Bayrou, as cited by Politico. "It just goes to show that you never really know some people."

    Bayrou reportedly called on Rochefort to relinquish all his duties in the party.

    In France, one can avoid being put behind bars for this sort of crimes and get away by paying a fine and undergoing a mandatory medical treatment.

    According to the country's parliamentary rules, Rochefort cannot be ousted from his post, unless he resigns, both from MoDEM and from the European Parliament.


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