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A FRENCH court has faced a flurry of nationwide criticism for branding the “sexual relationship” between an 11-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man consensual.

Prosecutors from the Val d’oise department in northern France, were told in court that the girl had agreed to go to his apartment after he promised to “teach her how to kiss”.

He was arrested after he lured the girl from a park near Paris to his home in April this year, the local reports.

But once at his flat in Montmagny, the man had sexual relations with the young girl.

The girl’s family insisted the man should face rape charges because she was “paralysed with fear” and left “unable to defend herself.

But in a shocking ruling, the court only charged the man with sexual abuse of a minor.

Their reasoning was “there was no violence, no constraint, no threat, and no surprise” on the part of the man to justify the charge of rape.

They also said she had consented by default because she was not physically forced into the act.

Still insisting her daughter was raped, the girl’s mum told Mediapart that her young daughter “went into auto-pilot” during the incident.

She added: “She thought it was too late, that she didn’t have the right to protest, that it wouldn’t make any difference, so she went into auto-pilot, without emotion and without reaction.”

And one expert told Le Figaro newspaper: “Submitting is not consenting.

“Rape victims sometimes witch off and no longer feel fear. This is especially true among child victims.”

Children’s rights group Le Voix de l’Enfant said in a statement: “The question of consent or its absence should never even be asked when it comes to rape victims who are minors.”

Other groups have called for the French legal system to introduce a legal age under which sexual consent is never presumed.

For adults, French law classes sexual acts as consensual if there is no threat or violence during the act.

But it doesn’t take into account those under 15-years, which is the legal age of consent.

The trial has been postponed to February 13 next year

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