Experts attack Sarkozy stance on paedophilia

10th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 10, 2007 (AFP) - Psychiatrists and doctors on Monday joined in attacking France's right-wing presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy for arguing that paedophilia was a genetic trait.

PARIS, April 10, 2007 (AFP) - Psychiatrists and doctors on Monday joined in attacking France's right-wing presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy for arguing that paedophilia was a genetic trait.

Bernard Golse, a child psychiatrist at Paris' Necker hospital said Sarkozy's comments reflected a "very linear, reductive and falsely predictable way of using genetics" and that it would be "scientifically baseless to launch a crusade based on the genetic aspects of paedophilia".

He described Sarkozy's remarks -- which were criticised by Archbishop of Paris Andre Vingt-Trois -- as "purely ideological nonsense, and completely out of touch with current scientific and genetic knowledge."

In an interview with Philosophie magazine, Sarkozy said he was "inclined to think that people are born paedophiles, and that it is also a problem that we do not know how to manage." He also said he thought teenage suicides occurred "because, genetically, they are fragile and have a pre-existing sadness."

Christine Bellas-Cabane, chair of the French union of mother and infant doctors, SNPMI, attacked Sarkozy's argument that paedophilia was predetermined as "extremely dangerous".

Both Golse and Bellas-Cabane backed a petition last year against plans by Sarkozy, then interior minister, to vet toddlers for behavioural problems as a way to prevent teenage delinquency.

Insisting there is "no such thing as a gene for an unhappy life," the geneticist Axel Kahn also took aim at "an entire current that maintains that genes... are responsible for certain social disorders".

Gerard Schmidt of the French college of child psychiatry warned against making predictions based on an individual's genetic make-up, saying the human brain continues to mature through to adolescence.

A spokeswoman for the Socialist Segolene Royal, Sarkozy's main rival for the presidency, called on him to explain his comments.

Najat Belkacem said his comments were not a "campaign 'blunder'" but the sign of a "deeply reactionary and anti-humanist programme".

"With him it is always the same who make it, always the same who are abandoned to what he sees as their destiny as losers," she said.

His centrist rival Francois Bayrou has called his comments on paedophilia "terribly worrying" and "chilling".

Sarkozy is leading the race two weeks ahead of the April 22 first round of voting. A decider between the top two candidates will be held on May 6.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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