04:54 GMT22 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A French court has sentenced retired surgeon Joel Le Scouarnec to 15 years in prison on charges of the rape and sexual abuse of several minors, following a four-day closed trial in the framework of what is believed to be France's most massive paedophilia case, media reported.

    According to the France Bleu media outlet, the verdict was announced by the local court in the French western Saintes commune. The 70-year-old ex-surgeon was tried since Monday behind closed doors at the request of the underage victims, which include two of his nieces, a patient and a neighbour.

    In addition to 15 years in prison, the sentence also includes a three-year socio-judicial follow-up. The defendant has 10 days to appeal the sentence.

    The news outlet reported that Le Scouarnec remained impassive during the hearing, and acknowledged that he felt remorse and regret over his deeds but did not voice any apologies.

    Lawyers get ready before the trial of French retired surgeon Joel Le Scouarnec accused of rape and sexual abuse, on November 30, 2020 at the courthouse in Saintes, western France
    © AFP 2020 / PHILIPPE LOPEZ
    Lawyers get ready before the trial of French retired surgeon Joel Le Scouarnec accused of rape and sexual abuse, on November 30, 2020 at the courthouse in Saintes, western France

    The former surgeon has been charged with the rape and sexual assault of 312 people in certain French cities over several years. He faced his first sentence of several months in prison back in 2005 on charges of possession of child pornography.

    After Le Scouarnec retired in 2017 from his work as a surgeon, he remained in custody pending the trial on the sexual assault of four underage girls on March 13. However, the hearing was postponed due to the pandemic-linked lockdown.

    Tags:
    paedophilia, child abuse, Child Abuse, child abuse, child abuse, France
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