- German journalist Ann-Kathrin Stracke said VGE touched her with his hands three times on the buttocks during an interview held at the politician’s Paris office in December 2018.
- “I was standing to his left, and while taking the photo, he put his hand on my left waist before sliding it to my backside where it stayed,” said Stracke.
- The former France president isn’t the only world leader that has been faced by such accusations in the last few days.
A German journalist has gone public today, saying she had filed a sexual assault complaint against former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. She accused him of abusive conduct, including several unwanted touches on her buttocks. The journalist has thus confirmed the information, published on Wednesday night by the French daily Le Monde and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Ann-Kathrin Stracke, a 37-year-old journalist working for the German public television station WDR, reported that d’Estaing, who was President of France between 1974 and 1981, touched her with his hands three times on the buttocks during an interview held at the politician’s Paris office in December 2018. VGE, as he is known, is a current member of the Constitutional Council.
“I decided to tell my story because I think that people should know that a French former president harassed me sexually after an interview,” Stracke explained to AFP. The journalist officially lodged the complaint at the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office on 10 March. The journalist is supported by her employer, public broadcaster WDR, which carried out an independent investigation into her claims.
Contacted by AFP, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on the case. Also contacted, the team of ex-president VGE, 94, has so far not responded to questions posed by the French news agency.
In her narration about the incident, which took place December 18, 2018, the journalist recalls that she had requested for a photo session with the former leader, as well as her colleagues after the interview. “I was standing to his left, and while taking the photo, he put his hand on my left waist before sliding it to my backside where it stayed,” said Stracke. The same action was allegedly repeated twice.
Once, while a new photo was being taken, and another time when the former president was showing Stracke photographs of himself next to other world leaders or family members, she recalls. “I tried to push him away but I didn’t manage to,” she added. To free herself from that what she describes as a “very degrading” situation, she sought the help of a cameraman who toppled a lampshade to divert attention as he placed a chair between the former president and herself.
The incident allegedly took place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Helmut Schmidt, former German Social Democratic leader and Chancellor (1974-1982) when “VGE” was at the Elysée Palace. The former France president isn’t the only world leader that has been faced by such accusations in the last few days.
US presidential hopeful Joe Biden was compelled to come out and publicly deny such accusations, after a former female aide, Tara Reade, accused him of assault in 1993. As per the accusations, the former Senator is alleged to have pushed her up against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers. In response, Biden refuted the claims, insisting that it was a lie. This “never, never happened,” he reiterated.