Surgeon, 69, feared to be France’s worst ever paedophile who may have raped 349 children over 30 years goes on trial
A retired surgeon suspected of raping or sexually abusing as many as 349 children over nearly three decades has today gone on trial behind closed doors in France in what could be the country’s biggest-ever paedophilia scandal.
The trial in the western town of Saintes is the first of hundreds of legal complaints against defendant Joel Le Scouarnec to come to court. It is due to run until March 17.
Le Scouarnec, 69, is charged in this opening case with raping and sexually abusing four children between 1989 and 2017.
Joel Le Scouarnec (in black) is charged in this opening case with raping and sexually abusing four children between 1989 and 2017. Pictured attending court in Saintes, France, March 13
The alleged victims included two of his relations, a patient and his neighbour’s then six-year-old daughter.
Because the victims were minors at the time, the Saintes court ruled on Friday that proceedings would be closed to the public, radio franceinfo said.
Le Scouarnec, a specialist in abdominal surgery, was arrested in 2017 when the young girl living next door told her mother that he had exposed himself and molested her.
Le Scouarnec, who worked in the Hospital de Jonzac in western France (pictured) is alleged to be the country’s most prolific paedophile
Investigators said a search of Le Scouarnec’s home yielded images of child abuse as well as notebooks where the surgeon detailed acts of sexual violence against children from 1989 to 2017.
Le Scouarnec has told investigators that he had ‘already acted out with children.
He has however denied any full sexual penetration and said his diaries included an element of fantasy.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
In 2005, he was convicted of possessing images of child sexual abuse but the surgeon was allowed to continue practising until his arrest in 2017.
After the arrest in 2005 he was given a four-month suspended sentence and no order was issued that he undergo any treatment.