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|Thursday, October 18, 2001, updated at 16:23(GMT+8)|
French MP Jailed for Sexual Assault on NieceA French member of parliament was sentenced late on Wednesday to five years in jail, two of which were suspended, for sexually assaulting his niece while she was a minor.
Marc Dumoulin, 51 is the first sitting member of the National Assembly (lower house) to be condemned before a jury in France's 43-year-old Fifth Republic.
Dumoulin denied the charges. He told the court in Strasbourg, eastern France, he had merely touched his niece, now aged 29, in an "affectionate" way but acknowledged his attitude toward her was sometimes "ambiguous."
The deputy announced his decision to appeal the sentence, which if confirmed would strip him of his parliamentary mandate.
His niece, who exercised her right to remain anonymous, alleged that Dumoulin sexually assaulted her five times between 1983 and 1985.
She reported the incidents only after Dumoulin, who was also her godfather, was elected to parliament in 1997 in the Ribeauville constituency in the Alsace region.
He left the Gaullist RPR party group in December 1998 after being placed under formal investigation and has since sat as a independent.
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