French minister arrested in rape case: prosecutors
Police on Monday arrested a former French minister over rape charges that drove him to resign last month, a source in the state prosecutors' office said.
Police held Georges Tron, formerly a junior civil service minister, for questioning over accusations that he sexually assaulted two women who worked in the town hall where he is mayor, the source told AFP.
A source close to the investigation said a third accuser also "recently brought charges" against Tron.
Tron denies all the accusations and has not yet been charged in the case, in which prosecutors are carrying out a preliminary investigation into accusations of sexual assault and rape.
The first two accusers alleged that Tron forced them to let him give them foot massages, which turned into forced sexual encounters.
"Mr Tron was placed in custody on Monday at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT)," said the source in the state prosecutor's office in Evry, south of the capital, who asked not to be named.
Tron's lawyer Olivier Schnerb told AFP: "He is currently being questioned."
A source close to the investigation told AFP that Tron would be questioned alongside all three accusers -- a judicial procedure whereby investigators allow both parties to challenge each other's claims.
The source said investigators also detained another employee from the town hall in Draveil, south of Paris, where Tron remains mayor.
Tron's resignation from the government on May 29 came amid a wave of soul-searching over sex and secrecy in public life after the French IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York on sex crime charges.
Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the global lender after his arrest.
Tron alleged his political rivals were trying to gain momentum from the arrest of Strauss-Kahn.
© 2011 AFP