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Man at Heart of Nobel Literature Scandal Convicted of Rape

Jean-Claude Arnault, 72, sentenced Monday to 2 years in prison
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 1, 2018 1:08 PM CDT
In this Sept. 19, 2018, file photo, Jean-Claude Arnault arrives at the district court for the start of court proceedings in Stockholm.   (Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via AP, File)
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(Newser) – The man at the center of a sex abuse and financial crimes scandal in Sweden that has tarnished the academy that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature was convicted of rape and sentenced Monday to two years in prison. Jean-Claude Arnault, 72, a major cultural figure in Sweden, had faced two counts of rape for the same woman in 2011. He was found guilty of one rape but was acquitted of the other because the victim said she was asleep at the time and judges said her account wasn't reliable. Arnault had denied the charges. Stockholm District Court said the ruling by the judge and three jurors was unanimous. In Sweden, rape is punishable by a minimum of two years and a maximum of six years in prison, reports the AP.

Prosecutor Christina Voigt had demanded three years in prison for Arnault, a French photographer who ran a cultural center in Stockholm that had financial ties to the Swedish Academy and who was a key figure among Sweden's cultural elite. "We are obviously disappointed," said Arnault's lawyer. "I spoke to him a few minutes ago and his order was to start working on an appeal." Arnault is married to Swedish Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson and is the reason that the famous yet secretive literature body is in such turmoil right now. The case began in November, when 18 women came forward with sex abuse accusations against Arnault. In April, the Swedish Academy released the results of its internal investigation, which led to the police investigation and a decision not to hand out the award this year.

(Read more Nobel Prize for Literature stories.)

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