French school orders DNA testing to locate rapist

Lycée Fénelon Notre-Dame in La Rochelle
Lycée Fénelon Notre-Dame in La Rochelle Screen capture/Google Street View

A private Catholic school in the French port city of La Rochelle is DNA testing more than 500 male pupils and staff starting Monday in an effort to trace the rapist of a 16-year-old girl in a school toilet.


In the first mass screening of its kind, 475 students, 31 teachers, and 21 others present at the Fenelon-Norte-Dame high school on September 30, when the rape occurred, will be genetically tested.

The victim said she was not able to physically describe her assaulter, who attacked her in a dark toilet after an automatic switch went off.

Traces of his DNA were found on the girl’s clothes and investigators will attempt to match it to saliva swabs taken over the next three days.

La Rochelle Prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle said the girl’s DNA tested negatively when matched to her family and close friends.

Students and staff will not be forced to undergo the testing. However, a refusal could designate one as a potential suspect and could be detained.

Pagenelle added that all test results not found to be a match will be destroyed, adding that they are a necessary measure to prevent any further assaults.

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