Will a new sexual assault case add to the list of scandals agitating the Mediterranean Infection Institute? Yesterday the site Marsactu revealed that a doctor from the IHU had been laid off as a precaution by the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Marseille. Of the “inappropriate behavior“Towards patients he is accused of confirms to La Provence the management of the CHU. The Marseille prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation.
This infectiologist, responsible within the day hospital for the reception of patients living with HIV or hepatitis, is suspected of sexual assault (s). According to the management of the AP-HM, “a first alert was given in 2020 about this doctor. We received an email from a member, who remained anonymous, of the Aides association, who was sharing rumors“. Jean-Olivier Arnaud, then in charge of the CHU, had not followed up.
Three years later, last April, his successor François Crémieux would have been seized of “other testimonials“. “An internal investigation has been opened, concluding that facts are serious enough for a layoff to be decided.“. Which was done on May 17th.
Contacted yesterday, Me Silvio Rossi-Arnaud, the defendant’s lawyer, virulently disputes this version. “We do not know at this stage if any complaints have been filed. The only fact of which my client is aware dates back to 2018. A patient, referred by the Marseille branch of Aides, had misinterpreted medical gestures necessary for a clinical examination. This complaint had been closed without follow-up” Me Rossi-Arnaud specifies that his client, “sexually transmitted disease specialist“, receives”a lot of patients from the Aids branch, often migrants with suspected HIV on whom it is necessary to perform an auscultation of the sex and the anus“. According to the lawyer, although closed, it is this same affair which resurfaces. In a letter addressed to the AP-HM, a national official of Aides would have threatened to “not send any more patients IHU if my client was not laid off”. For Me Rossi-Arnaud, who intends to file an appeal against the layoff, “this case is part of a desire to destroy the Raoult universe by all means“. He describes his client as “Belonging to the close team, same med school gang, same promo“.
Close to Didier Raoult, the doctor in question had been propelled, from the first hours of the epidemic, to the front line of screening and consultations at the Institute. On the IHU YouTube channel, he hosted several “thursday videos“questioning the relevance of randomized trials in the context of an epidemic. At the time, the”Raoult protocol“(hydroxychloroquine + azythromicine) was prescribed en masse to the 30,000 Covid patients treated at the IHU, without the latter having obtained authorization from the Medicines Agency (ANSM). A “scandalous wild clinical trial “according to the 13 learned societies that signed a resounding opinion piece published on May 28 in The world. Thursday, considering that it was indeed an unauthorized test on the human person, the ANSM filed a new complaint with the Marseille public prosecutor’s office… Where other judicial information continues (giving rise to a search on May 31) on other studies of the IHU subject to suspicion…
In addition, this is not the first case of sexual assault that agitates the IHU. In July 2022, Éric Ghigo, a renowned researcher, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, including six months, for moral and sexual harassment and sexual assault on two women from the Institute.
It is therefore a descent into hell for the “researchers paradise” vaunted by his former director. Didier Raoult may have to leave the office he was able to keep at the IHU by virtue of the status of professor emeritus conferred on him by his Grand Prix de l’Inserm. At the request of the Ministry of Education and Research, the new president of the Emmanuelle Prada-Bordenave foundation sent a letter to the microbiologist ordering him to leave the premises.
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