Nobel academy rocked as French rapist jailed

Nobel academy rocked as French rapist jailed

A Swedish court has sentenced a French photographer at the heart of a Nobel scandal to two years in jail for rape after being exposed during the #MeToo campaign.

Jean-Claude Arnault (pictured), 72, went on trial in September on two rape charges relating to incidents from 2011.

The ruling came as this year’s Nobel winners were being named, apart from the literature prize, which was postponed because of the legal case.

The Stockholm district court found him guilty on one of the charges. 

The court said the female victim had been awarded compensation for damages.

Arnault is married to a member of the Swedish academy which selects the Nobel literature winner.

The scandal erupted in November last year when the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter published the testimonies from 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Arnault over more than 20 years in Sweden and France.

He ran the Forum club, a meeting place for the cultural elite and popular among authors hoping to make contact with publishers and other writers.

The Nobel academy has funded the club for years, prompting secondary allegations of a conflict of interest, and been divided over how to address ties to him and his wife, poet Katarina Frostenson.

Eight of the 18 members have either resigned or are on leave now, and several of them regularly criticise each other in the media.

Without a quorum to make decisions, the academy postponed this year’s prize for the first time in 70 years.

Two laureates are due to be announced next year.

Prosecutors investigating the allegations against Arnault dropped several allegations because of lack of evidence or because the statute of limitations had expired. 

The victim in the case is a writer and academic who told police of the 2011 attacks a few days after the 2017 Dagens Nyheter report was published, saying she had not spoken out earlier because Arnault was a close friend of her manager.

Forum hosted exhibitions and readings by prominent cultural personalities, including Nobel laureates. 

As the scandal unfolded, Dagens Nyheter reported on an internal investigation by the Nobel academy which concluded Arnault may have leaked the names of seven Nobel literature laureates, which is the subject of heavy betting, in advance of their announcement, including those of Bob Dylan in 2016 and Harold Pinter in 2005.



Jean-Claude Arnault. The Nobel academy is facing unusual scrutiny. Picture credit: YouTube

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