A man in France has been charged with sexual abuse rather than rape after a judge ruled that the sexual intercourse he had with an 11-year-old was consensual.
The man, who has not been named, will only face a charge of sexual abuse of a minor, which carries a sentence of five years in prison.
The girl reportedly followed the man to his house after they met at a park in Montmagny, a suburb to the north of Paris.
He reportedly told the girl that he would teach her to kiss, but went on to have sex with her.
Speaking to French media, the child’s mother said: ‘She thought it was too late, that she didn’t have the right to protest, that it wouldn’t make any difference, so she went into autopilot, without emotion and without reaction.’
In French legal cases involving adults, sex is deemed to be consensual if no threat or violence occurs during the act.
But the law does not account for people under the age of 15, which is the French age of consent.
‘Committing a sexual offence against a minor under the age of 15 without violence, constraint, threat or surprise is punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros (£65,800)’, France’s penal code states.
In a statement, children’s rights group Le Voix de l’Enfant said: ‘The question of consent or its absence should never even be asked when it comes to rape victims who are minors.’