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Newly appointed French minister denies rape accusations

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Damien Abad (pictured) was appointed France's minister for Solidarity and the Disabled on Sunday (22 May). This follows accusations made by Mediapart in an article based upon interviews with the women.

According to Saturday's Mediapart story, the women quoted said that Abad forced them into unsuitable sexual relationships. They claimed that the actions occurred in late 2010 or early 2011.

A complaint was filed by one of the women against Abad to the police in 2017. It was closed without any further action, Abad said.

He stated that he "contests with the greatest force these allegations of sexual violence. The sexual relationships that I have had all my life were by mutual consent".

Abad claimed that his disability, called arthrogryposis, which affects all of his four limbs, made it physically impossible to perform the acts of violence he was charged with.

When asked by Elisabeth Borne to comment on the allegations against Abad she said that she didn't know about them until he joined the government.

She said: "I will be very clear: On all these topics of harassment, sexual assault, there cannot be impunity, and we must continue ad hoc so that women who might be victims of harassment, assault, or harassment can freely speak out."

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Borne stated that her government would be responsible for the consequences of Abad's appointment, "if new elements are added and a case is opened." She didn't give any further details.

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