Trial rekindles debate on age of sexual consent in France

A 29-year-old man is set to appear in a French court for having sex with an 11-year-old girl last year, in a trial that has rekindled debate on the age of sexual consent in France.

In a decision that shocked many, the prosecutor's office in the Paris suburb of Pontoise decided to send the man to trial on charges of "sexual abuse of a minor under 15 years old," and not of rape.

The case is the latest of several that prompted an uproar over France's rules on child sex abusers, considered too lax by child rights and feminist groups.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government is proposing to introduce a minimum legal age for sexual consent and say that sex with children under a certain age is by definition coercive.