French man faces third trial in long-running paedophilia ring case
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A 33-year-old French man went on trial for the third time on Tuesday in a controversial paedophilia case that has dragged on for 14 years and seen only four of the 17 accused convicted. Daniel Legrand has been acquitted of offences allegedly committed before his 18th birthday but now answers charges relating to when he was a minor.
The Outreau affair - named after the northern French seaside town where the participants lived - rocked France when it hit the headlines in 2001.
What started with two boys accusing their parents of raping them culminated in a trial with 17 accused in the dock and claims of a paedophile ring involving as many as 70 people.
At the first trial in 2004 four of the accused, including the boys' parents - Thierry Delay and Myriam Badaoui - pleaded guilty and another three were convicted.
At the appeal in 2005 all 13 who claimed to be innocent were acquitted, leading to an official apology and 200,000 euros compensation for each of them.
But Daniel Legrand - whose father, also called Daniel, was also acquitted but has since died - was only tried then for offences alleged to have been committed after his 18th birthday in 1999.
Three of Delay and Badaoui's sons are sticking to their story and have the backing of an anti-paedophilia campaign and a magistrates' union.
So now Legrand must face trial in a court for minors in Rennes, western France, for allegations relating to when he was under 18.
Forty-three witnesses, including Myriam Badaoui, are to be called, altough one of the victims, Chérif, who is currently in prison in an unrelated case, has been taken ill and will not appear, lawyers said on Tuesday.
"Three trials - that's a lot for an innocent man," he commented on Tuesday.
"I'll be disappointed" if Legrand is acquitted, commented one of his accusers, Jonathan Delay, earlier.
Legrand faces up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.
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