Man behind Nobel scandal gets two years for rape

Jean-Claude Arnault, the man at the centre of a sex scandal that led Swedish Academy, above, to postpone the announcement of this year’s Nobel Literature Prize, was jailed for two years for raping a woman in 2011, local media reports.

The Stockholm District Court on Monday found Arnault guilty of raping a woman on the intervening night of October 5-6 seven years ago.

Presiding judge Gudrun Antemar said the court found enough evidence to find the defendant guilty of one of the two counts of rape he was charged with.

The ruling by the three-judge bench was unanimous and the trial was held behind closed doors to protect the identity of the rape survivor.

Prosecutors had sought a minimum sentence of three years for Arnault.

The scandal, which broke out late last year, had shaken the academy as Arnault was husband of one of the academy’s members, poet Katarina Frostenson.

Inspired by the #MeToo Movement, 18 women, including Sweden’s heir to the throne, accused Arnault of sexually harassing them.

Three witnesses said he groped Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria at an academy event in 2006.

However, most of the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence or the statute of limitations having lapsed.

There are also suspicions that Arnault leaked the winner of the Literature Prize to the media several times.

The scandal prompted six academy members to step aside in May this year to protest against the way the academy handled it. Following this, Arnault’s wife too stepped aside.

Frostenson also had violated the academy’s conflict-of-interest rules by failing to disclose she was co-owner of an arts and performance venue run by her husband used to receive funding from the academy.

Besides the scandal, local reports hinted at a power struggle in the academy.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, patron of the academy, is concerned over the resignations of some of the academy members, including its head Sara Danius, in the wake of the scandal. Of the 18 academy members, some are not active.

According to the rules, the academy members, who are appointed for life, are expected to keep their status. Technically, they cannot step down.

The king will have to change the clauses if members want to resign.

Earlier this year, the academy had defended its decision to postpone this year’s Nobel Literature Prize.

In a statement, it said the postponement was due to the “currently diminished academy and reduced public confidence” in it.

This is not the first time the academy has reserved the prize. Between 1901 and 1949, it had reserved the prize on seven occasions. On five occasions, the prize was awarded at the same time as the following year’s prize.