Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Mother confesses at trial to raping own children

AFP , SAINT-OMER, FRANCE

One of the main defendants in a major pedophilia trial in northern France, with 17 adults accused of gang rape, on Wednesday admitted she had raped her own children.

"I don't even remember playing with dolls or tea sets any more. I became an adult at the age of eight when my father raped me. I raped my own children," said 37-year-old Myriam Delay.

"It's so hard. I don't understand why I did what I did," she told the court in the northern French town of Saint-Omer, tears streaming down her face.

Delay and her husband Thierry are accused of being at the center of a child sex ring run out of their apartment in a rundown housing project in Outreau, outside the northern port of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The couple and 15 others, aged 24 to 67, are on trial for gang raping children, aged three to 12 at the time of the events, from 1995 to 2000, in a case that shocked the nation.

Some of the defendants are also charged with "rape with torture" or "rape with barbaric acts," and many of the victims are the offspring of the defendants. Some will testify against their own parents.

In December 2000, social services alerted prosecutors to possible sexual abuse committed by the Delays against their own four children.

The minors, once they had been placed in foster care, told investigators they had been fondled, raped, coerced into performing sex acts and forced to watch pornographic films, and named other individuals involved.

Police seized 163 pornographic videos and sex toys from their family apartment, where the illicit sex sessions allegedly took place.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

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