Man at center of Nobel Literature scandal loses rape appeal

December 03, 2018 - 8:07 am

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The man with ties to the Swedish Academy that awards the Nobel Prize in literature lost his appeal Monday to have his rape conviction and a two-year prison sentence reversed and has been convicted of a second rape, an appeals court ruled.

The Svea Court of Appeal on Monday gave Jean-Claude Arnault 2 ½ years in jail for raping the same woman twice seven years ago.

In October, the 72-year-old Frenchman, who is married to a former member of the Swedish Academy board, was found guilty of one rape in 2011. He was acquitted of a second rape because the victim said she was asleep at the time and the lower Stockholm District Court said her account wasn't reliable.

But the appeals court made "a different assessment," saying it was "beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of rape" in the second case.

The woman's deposition "gave a credible impression," adding that her account "was strongly supported by those of several witnesses," and found them "reliable and sufficient" for a conviction. The court also said it had taken into consideration Arnault's "relatively high age" and "the unusually long time from the offense committed to the prosecution."

The sex abuse scandal led eight members to either leave or disassociate themselves from the secretive body's 18-member board. Amid the chaos, this year's Nobel literature award has been postponed to 2019.

The charges against Arnault, the husband of Katarina Frostenson, have rocked the prestigious body. He is also suspected of leaking the name of Nobel Prize literature winners — allegedly seven times, starting in 1996. In May, the academy announced that no prize would be awarded this year.

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