The story is terrible. In Saint-Etienne, the son of a childminder was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for rape and sexual assault committed on 4 children from 2019. According to Le Progrès, Arnaud André, 39, lived with his mother, nanny , and went after the children she was babysitting. Too young, the little ones failed to raise the alarm. The doubt was raised when, overnight, the defendant’s mother refused to continue to keep one of the children.
During the trial, Arnaud André’s lawyer, Me Ludivine Mathis, questioned the children’s word. “The file does not bring anything else to confess than what he confessed,” she said. She also pointed to the “failing” and “highly gendered” family environment in which the defendant grew up, suggesting that he himself was sexually abused as a child. “For him, a sexual relationship at 3 years old is not rape, she explained. He thought of leaving the choice to his little victims to say no.”
“It was society as a whole that failed to protect them”
In her argument, Advocate General Violaine Perrot requested 20 years of criminal imprisonment, highlighting not only the trauma inflicted on the children, but also the moral abuse suffered by their parents. “How to explain that these children, who are entrusted to a childminder approved by society, could have been abused? We understand the feeling of betrayal of the parents. It is society as a whole that has failed to protect them”, a- she launched.
Arnaud André will finally spend 18 years behind bars. With the verdict in, several questions remain unanswered. First, how many victims has the almost-forty-year-old had? Officially, four children were abused, but five plaintiffs sued the accused. Next, to what extent did the defendant’s mother know of her son’s actions? “Questions remain about his role. We cannot answer them, we have to accept that,” said Me Perrot.
The children, too young, did not immediately raise the alarm. © Pexels