France to try top French football TV pundit over sexual assault


France was to try one of the country’s most prominent football pundits over sexual assault, prosecutors and his lawyer said, after he was detained for questioning Thursday.

Pierre Menes, 58, lost his job earlier this year for the Canal Plus channel over a number of complaints made against him by women.

A woman then accused Menes of sexual assault after a match on November 20 between Paris Saint-Germain and Nantes and prosecutors opened a probe.

Prosecutors said Menes was detained Thursday morning for questioning, then released in the evening pending his trial over alleged “acts of sexual assault”.

His lawyer Arash Derambarsh said Menes has received a summons to appear in court on June 8.

Derambarsh had earlier said his client would file a complaint against the “slanderous denunciation” against him.

Menes was the star pundit on the channel’s “Canal Football Club” show but he stepped down in July as concern grew over his behaviour.

He has been accused of, in August 2016, at the end of a programme, lifting a female colleague’s skirt before grabbing her buttocks, off air but in front of the studio audience.

In another scene that was recorded and has been reposted on social media, he forcibly kissed his colleague Isabelle Moreau on the mouth while broadcasting from the studio.

He has insisted that health problems mean his memory of such events is impaired.

Many commentators have cast France as being slow to break longstanding taboos over sexual abuse and harassment as the #MeToo movement gathered steam.

But over the last months, a slew of accusations and legal cases have engulfed prominent figures such as the writer Gabriel Matzneff and the political commentator Olivier Duhamel.

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