Paedophile trial hears 430-page litany of child sex abuse charges

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The Independent Online

A three-day litany of accusations of sexual abuse of children has revealed the full horror of the vast paedophile trial in Angers, in western France.

A three-day litany of accusations of sexual abuse of children has revealed the full horror of the vast paedophile trial in Angers, in western France.

Five court officials, working in relays, read out 430 pages of allegations against the 66 people on trial for raping, sexually assaulting, prostituting or failing to help 45 children aged between six months and 12 years.

The trial finally moved on yesterday afternoon to question the defendants on their personal history and social background. The first week of the trial, which is expected to take up to five months, has also been marked by a death threat screamed by one defendant at another and the collapse of three other defendants from "emotional exhaustion". The court was told children, including babies and toddlers, had been abused by their parents and hired to other adults for small sums of money or boxes of food or cigarettes.

The charge sheets spoke of children being stripped and told to "play at mummy and daddy" with naked adults. They spoke of children screaming and begging to be rescued, as parents watched or participated.

The three judges and nine jurors were told sisters, aged three and four at the time, were "reduced to the state of sexual objects" by their parents. It is alleged they were raped or assaulted by 25 adults from January 1999 to February 2002.

Their parents, Franck and Patricia V, who are in their mid-thirties, are alleged to have been at the centre of the network. M. V's father, convicted of abusing him as a child, is now accused of videotaping the abuse of his grandchildren.

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