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En utskrift från Dagens Nyheter, 2019-06-16 08:53

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Former artistic director with ties to the Swedish Academy found guilty of rape

Stockholm district court finds former artistic director Jean-Claude Arnault guilty of rape. Foto: Lotta Härdelin

The Stockholm district court has found Jean-Claude Arnault, former artistic director of a cultural club in Stockholm, guilty of rape. He was convicted of raping a woman in Stockholm in 2011 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Jean-Claude Arnault was prosecuted for raping the woman on two occasions. He was convicted of one of the charges, but is absolved of the charges relating to the second allegation. 

The assault he was convicted of happened on the night between October 5 and 6, 2011.

Jean-Claude Arnault, who has denied all allegations, has been detained since the trial against him finished last Monday. Public prosecutor Christina Voigt demanded a prison sentence of three years. 

He was sentenced to two years in prison. He will also have to pay damages of 115.000 SEK to the woman. 

”I demanded three years imprisonment if he were to be convicted on both charges. Now he was convicted of one case of rape, and then I think two years imprisonment is a reasonable penalty,” Christina Voigt said after the verdict. 

Are you planning to appeal? 

”That I can't say anything about. I have to read the verdict properly. But there was more evidence in the charge for which he was convicted. I thought the other one had enough too, but it was weaker,” Christina Voigt said. 

After the detention order Jean-Claude Arnault’s defence attorney, Björn Hurtig, said there was an ”imminent risk” that he would be convicted of at least one of the charges. He also stated that a conviction would be appealed to the Court of Appeal.

There is no technical evidence in the case against Jean-Claude Arnault. Seven witnesses have been called to support the woman’s testimony in the first case of rape, as she confided her story to them. A psychiatrist’s journal entry has also been cited as evidence. 

In the verdict the Stockholm District court states that the woman’s story was detailed, coherent and clear. She was also very detailed in her representation of the assault. Her account was confirmed ”to a high degree” by witnesses during the hearing, according to the court. 

”The court’s verdict is a big relief for my client. The guilty verdict is a victory for justice,” Elisabeth Massi-Fritz, counsel for the injured party, said in a statement to DN. 

She continued:  

”The verdict is important to a lot of women, to the metoo-movement and the culture of silence which exists around rapes and sexual crimes. No rape victim should be quiet, no rape victim should feel shame or guilt. Instead they should report rape to the police as soon as possible. Evidence should be documented. If there is evidence there can be a guilty verdict, even if the crime is old. That’s what today’s verdict shows."

The allegations against Jean-Claude Arnault were raised in an article in DN, published in November of last year, where 18 women said that the artistic director had sexually assaulted or harassed them. 

Jean-Claude Arnault has had very close ties to the Swedish Academy for many years and is married to the Academy member Katarina Frostenson.