French minister Georges Tron resigns after being accused of assaulting two women

A French government minister accused of sexual assault resigned yesterday.

Junior civil service minister Georges Tron is the subject of a preliminary investigation into charges of rape and sexual assault after two women alleged that he had attacked them between 2007 and 2010.

One said she was inspired to come forward after a hotel chambermaid in New York claimed she was sexually assaulted by International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Mr Tron, 53, is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party. A statement from Prime Minister François Fillon's office noted Mr Tron has denied the allegations and praised him for acting in the "general interest".

The two women, aged 34 and 36, once worked at the town hall of Draveil, south of Paris, where Mr Tron is mayor. They told Le Parisien newspaper that Mr Tron assaulted them behind locked doors at the town hall. One of the women, who was not identified by name, said she was too ashamed to tell anyone at first, but she added: "When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn't have the right to keep quiet. Other women may be suffering what I suffered. I have to help them. We have to break this code of silence."