Paris (AFP)

At 84, former minister Pierre Joxe finds himself targeted by new charges of sexual assault, this time brought by a former employee at home, a few days of the defamation suit he filed against his first accuser.

This pillar of the mitterrandie Wednesday denounced a "manipulation", he intends to defend his reputation on November 18 before the Criminal Court of Paris where he defamed Ariane Fornia, daughter of the former Sarkozy minister Eric Besson.

In October 2017, at the height of the #MeToo wave, the young woman accused the former president of the Court of Auditors of having assaulted her during a performance at the Opéra Bastille in Paris in March 2010, in repeatedly putting his hand on his thigh. Prescribed facts.

Mr. Joxe had denounced "a fabric of untruths" and asked for "written and public apologies", which the writer had refused to do. "Not only will he not apologize, but I absolutely maintain everything I said," she said to this figure from the left, several times minister and former member of the Constitutional Council.

At five days of the hearing, where the protagonists must clash, word against word, Le Monde unveiled Wednesday new accusations of touching, this time for more recent facts, denounced by a woman who complained.

This is a former caregiver who worked at Mr. Joxe's home between September 2017 and December 2018 to care for his wife, who has a serious degenerative disease and is now deceased.

Seized of this complaint for "sexual assault" and "sexual harassment", filed Tuesday and consulted by AFP, the Paris prosecutor announced Wednesday evening to have opened an investigation, entrusted to the Paris judicial police.

In her complaint, the 40-year-old Haitian claims that Mr. Joxe first installed "a climate of uncertainty (...) on the durability of his employment contract".

He then touched himself "in a repetitive and daily manner", so that "he was forced to resort to a work stoppage on July 2, 2018 in order to avoid the constant attacks of Mr. Joxe. which became more and more urgent and rude.

The complainant, who arrived in Ile-de-France in the early 2010s, had already deposited a handrail at the end of July 2018 at the police station of Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis), evoking repeated touching, without however complaining at the time .

- Rebated debate -

"My client firmly denies these accusations and will prove that all this is false," told AFP the lawyer of the former minister, Jean-Yves Dupeux.

"By chance, this story, even more incredible than the other, arrives a few days before the court hearing in Paris, because the file in front is empty," reacted Pierre Joxe, joined by AFP. "The handling that is going on will be easy to disassemble," he assured.

According to a testimony against the complainant, consulted by AFP and to be discussed Monday at the hearing by Mr. Joxe, the caregiver was then involved in a dispute with his employers and colleagues who took turns bedside of the ex-minister's wife.

This case comes as the debate on sexual violence was revived last week by the testimony of Adele Haenel. The latter accused the director Christophe Ruggia in Mediapart of "touching" and "sexual harassment" when she was a teenager.

In the process, a photographer and former model, Valentine Monnier, accused in Le Parisien director Roman Polanski of having raped her in 1975 in Switzerland when she was 18 years old.

The testimony of Adèle Haenel had brought to light the recurrent criticisms addressed to justice since the #MeToo wave. "Justice ignores us, we ignore justice," said the actress of 30 years in a pithy way to justify his decision not to file a complaint. The Paris prosecutor's office, however, decided on its own initiative to launch investigations.

© 2019 AFP