French junior minister resigns over sex assault charges


French junior minister Georges Tron resigned Sunday, swearing that he will prove his innocence of sexual assault charges made shortly after the case brought against International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.


Prime Minister François Fillon accepted his resignation as Secretary of State for the Civil Service, adding that the move should not prejudice the legal case that Tron is fighting.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppé, who had implicitly called on Tron to quit earlier in the day, welcomed the decision.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Two women, who were formerly employed by the town council of Draveil where Tron is mayor, gave evidence to the police on Thursday, following their charges that he sexually assaulted them after offering to give them foot massages.

They also accused a female deputy mayor of being involved in the incident.

Tron has accused the far-right Front National (FN) of being behind the charges. Members of FN leader Marine Le Pen’s family live in Draveil and are said to be in conflict with the mayor.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Gilbert Collard recently came out in support of Le Pen, who has accused mainstream parties of covering up Strauss-Kahn’s “near-pathological” penchant for sexual harassment.

Tron’s lawyer, Olivier Schnerb, on Sunday claimed that the case has been prejudiced by media coverage, including the plaintiffs’ appearance on television.

He also said that the two women had both left the council’s employ in “conflictual” circumstances.

The Journal du Dimanche newspaper revealed Sunday that a female police commissioner was transferred from Draveil at her own request at the beginning of the year because of her allegedly difficult relations with the mayor.

Tron, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, was the architect of a cost-cutting project that means that the posts of half of civil servants who retire are not being replaced.

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