Prosecutor: Easy decision to order 527 DNA tests

2014-04-14 16:32
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Paris - The prosecutor in a western French city says it was an easy decision to order DNA tests for 527 people in the rape of a 16-year-old girl who was attacked at school.

The DNA dragnet started on Monday in La Rochelle, and prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle says so far no one has refused. The testing of 527 male students, faculty and staff at Fenelon-Notre Dame high school is expected to last through Wednesday.

Pagenelle said investigators exhausted all other leads in the rape last fall.

"The choice is simple for me," she said. Either I file it away and wait for a match in what could be several years, or I go looking for the match myself."

Pagenelle had said anyone who refuses the test could be considered a suspect and taken into custody.

Police recovered genetic material from the girl's clothing, but it had no matches in the national DNA database.

"This happened during the school day in a confined space," Chantal Devaux, the private Roman Catholic school's director, said in interviews with French media. "The decision to take such a large sample was made because it was the only way to advance the investigation."

Summonses went out last week to 475 students, 31 teachers and 21 others - either staff or males who were on campus at the time. The cost to analyze the samples is estimated to total €5 000.

Devaux acknowledged that all the results could come back negative, sending investigators back to the drawing board.

France has an extensive DNA database, with a total of 2 million profiles kept on file as of 2012, and refusing a test can be used against suspects in court.

Read more on:    france
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