Two cases involving sex with 11-year-olds forced France to raise the age of consent

A woman holds a placard reading, “In France, rapists and pedophiles are protected by law,” during a protest on Nov. 14 in Paris calling for a law setting an older minimum legal age for sexual consent. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

France announced plans Monday to set 15 as the age of sexual consent amid public outrage over two cases involving sex with 11-year-old girls.

Until now, sex with children under 15 could be prosecuted as a sexual offense, but rape charges could be difficult to prove in such cases because French law required evidence that the sex was forced.

Previously, the law was categorized as sexual abuse of a minor and punishable with a maximum prison term of five years and up to 75,000 euros.

That allowed two men to evade charges of rape, sparking a heated public debate among French lawmakers.


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