French school to test DNA of male pupils and staff in search for rapist

The genetic testing will take place following the rape of a 16-year-old girl at the Fenelon-Notre-Dame high school last year

A school in western France is to take DNA samples from all male pupils and staff as the hunt continues for a rapist who attacked a 16-year-old girl in the school toilets.

In all, 527 men and boys will be tested at the Fenelon-Notre-Dame Catholic high school, in La Rochelle, The Guardian reported.

According to prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle, the victim was unable to identify her assailant, who attacked her from behind after the light on an automatic time switch went off. The attack took place on 30 September last year.

Traces of DNA were found on the girl’s clothes and investigators will attempt to match it to saliva swabs taken over the next three days. No match was found with the victim’s family and friends.

Those to be tested include 475 pupils, 31 staff and 21 other employees who were in the school at the time.

But with authorities saying anyone who refuses to take part will be considered a suspect, the process has sparked opposition.

Pierre Tartakowsky, the president of the French human rights league, told Le Parisien newspaper that the testing was “ disproportionate, threatening and traumatising”.

But the school’s head teacher, Chantal Devaux, said: “We have followed every lead before going  down this route. We don’t have any other choice.”