Frenchman admits abusing 66 boys abroad

2016-06-20 21:35


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Versailles - A Frenchman went on trial for paedophilia on Monday, confessing to abusing dozens of young boys in Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Egypt.

Thierry Darantiere's voice shook as he expressed "regrets which seem futile... to these young people I will never see again".

The sheer number of his victims - 66 - makes the trial the biggest in France for sex crimes committed abroad.

Despite the magnitude of the sexual tourism industry, such hearings are rare, given a lack of evidence and plaintiffs.

Darantiere, 53, a former director of a Catholic retirement home, is charged with rape and sexual assault, corrupting minors, using under-age prostitutes, and recording and disseminating child pornography between 2002 and 2011.

It was the FBI that first tracked him down, finding dozens of images on the internet of him abusing young boys in 2011.

French police arrested him the following year.

Investigators found thousands of photos and hundreds of videos on hard disks seized from Darantiere's home showing him with minors in Tunisia, Egypt and Sri Lanka.

They counted 41 victims in Tunisia, 19 in Sri Lanka and six in Egypt. The boys ranged in age from six to 17.

Darantiere told investigators he was "bisexual with paedophile tendencies", a "loner" and a "sick person who needs help".

But he denied forcing the boys to commit sexual acts, saying he paid them with money and gifts.

He also denied abusing any children under 13.

In court on Monday, Darantiere sobbed as he told of his upbringing in a devout Catholic family for which homosexuality was unthinkable.

He said he had "never" had intimate relations with an adult in France, but invented a wife and child as he took a job as the head of a retirement home in Pecq, west of Paris.

While he had no homosexual relations in France, he said young boys solicited sex with him on his travels.

"I said to myself, 'How can they talk about it like that?'" he testified. "I told myself, 'Hey, it's possible, you can do it overseas'."

A psychiatric expert said the defendant did not accept that he was a paedophile. "Overseas there are no limits, while France is the place for a conformist existence."

'Not victims, but partners'

To Darantiere, "they aren't victims, they're partners", the expert said.

Three children's rights groups are civil parties to the case.

"What if children on a beach... in Brittany solicited you in this way?" asked the lawyer of one of the groups, Emmanuel Daoud.

"I don't know how to respond to your question," the defendant said.

"So in Tunisia it's opportunity that makes the thief?" Daoud asked.

"Probably, unfortunately," the accused answered.

Darantiere was given a one-year suspended prison sentence in Austria in 2000 for sexually abusing children in 1994.

A verdict is expected on Thursday.

Read more on:    france  |  child abuse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.