Man at center of Nobel Literature scandal convicted of rape

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By Associated Press  with NBC News World News
Image: Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault arrives at the district court in Stock
Jean-Claude Arnault arrives at the district court in Stockholm on Sept. 24, 2018, where he will attended the final hearing in his trial for rape and sexual assault allegations.   -   Copyright  Jonathan Nackstrand

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The man at the center of a sex-abuse and financial crimes scandal that is tarnishing the academy that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature was convicted Monday and sentenced to two years in prison for a rape in 2011.

Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure in Sweden, hadfaced two counts of rape of a woman seven years ago.

Stockholm District Court said that the ruling was unanimous.

Judge Gudrun Antemar said the role of the court was to decide whether the prosecutor had proven the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

"The court's conclusion is that the evidence is enough to find the defendant guilty of one of the events," she said, adding the evidence "has mainly consisted of statements made during the trial by the injured party and several witnesses."

In Sweden, rape is punishable by a minimum of two years and a maximum of six years in prison.

Prosecutor Christina Voigt had demanded three years in prison for Arnault, who is married to a Swedish Academy member.

Arnault had denied the charges, which have rocked the prestigious academy, with seven members either being forced to leave or quitting in April.

In May, the academyannounced that no prize would be awarded this year.