Wed, Aug 22, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Sarkozy unveils new policies for child predators

RESPONSE The family of a five-year-old boy who was raped in a garage reacted angrily to reports that the convicted pedophile had been prescribed Viagra

AFP , PARIS

A French doctor has admitted prescribing Viagra to a convicted pedophile charged with raping a young boy, in a case that prompted French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday to announce tough new measures for child sex offenders.

Returning from a two-week vacation in the US, Sarkozy said convicted pedophiles would have to submit to a medical examination at the end of their jail terms to determine whether they still pose a danger to children, and if so they would be sent to a special hospital to open in Lyon by 2009.

The president, whose tough-on-crime stance was a key plank of his election campaign earlier this year, said he was in favor of allowing pedophiles to undergo "chemical castration" -- a drug treatment that blunts the sex drive -- to prevent them from attacking again.

The new measures were announced after Francis Evrard, 61, was arrested on Wednesday for the kidnapping and rape of a five-year-old boy in the northern city of Roubaix, a little over a month after the convicted pedophile was released from jail.

Police said Evrard was in possession of the anti-impotency drug Viagra.

A doctor turned up at a police station in the northern city of Caen on Sunday and admitted prescribing Viagra to Evrard, a local prosecutor said.

The doctor who worked at the Caen prison where Evrard had been serving his sentence told police that he was not given access to his patient's criminal records when he wrote the prescription in June, according to sources close to the investigation.

The case has shocked France and prompted Sarkozy to call a special meeting of senior ministers to discuss stricter measures for sexual delinquents.

Evrard walked free last month after serving 18 years of a 27-year jail term. He also served time for various convictions in 1975, 1985 and 1989 on charges of indecent exposure and rape of minors.

"Everything must be done to ensure that this doesn't happen again," Sarkozy told reporters, adding that he had asked the justice minister to come up with new legislation to be presented to parliament in November.

Sarkozy met with the boy's father at the Elysee presidential palace and vowed to enact tougher laws against repeat sex offenders.

"I came here so that the laws can be changed, can be made stricter against monsters like this man," Mustafa Kocakurt said. "I don't think it's normal that he was allowed out."

"Mister president promised to change all that," he said.

The family of the five-year-old boy, who was raped in a garage, reacted angrily to reports that the convicted pedophile had been given Viagra.

"It's like giving a weapon to a holdup man after he is released from prison," said lawyer Emmanuel Riglaire, representing the family.

Evrard's lawyer Jerome Pianezza said at the weekend that his client had asked for Viagra because he suffered from erection problems.

No further details were released on the doctor who apparently was told by Evrard in June that he wanted "to meet girls" after he was released from prison on July 2.

Police were able to quickly track down Evrard due to a new alert system that makes massive use of radio and television announcements as well as notices at train stations and on highways to get assistance from the general public.

The alert system, modelled after one used in Texas, provides for a rapid response as investigators stress that action in the 24 hours following a kidnapping are crucial to save the child's life.

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