A SHOCKING court decision that declared an 11-year-old girl consented to sex with a man, 28, has sparked outrage in France.
Prosecutors deemed the child had engaged in a consensual " sexual relationship" with the man, leading to immediate backlash from children's rights groups.
The case centred on allegations the man lured the girl from a park in the northern Paris suburb of Montmagny to his nearby home.
But in a decision that's prompted anger, prosecutors decided "there was no violence, no constraint, no threat, and no surprise" on the part of the man to justify the charge of rape.
"Essentially they judged that she had consented to the sexual encounter because she was not physically forced into the act," The Local reported.
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".
The girl's mother told the Mediapart websites she was shocked the rape charge had been dropped to the lesser charge of sexual abuse of a minor.
"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 autopilot, without emotion and without reaction," the mother said.
There are now calls for French legislators to introduce a legal age under which sexual consent cannot be presumed.