- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2011

PARIS (AP) — A French government minister who was accused of sexual assault resigned on Sunday, the prime minister’s office announced.

George Tron, junior civil service minister, became the subject of a preliminary investigation into charges of rape and sexual assault after two women alleged that he attacked them between 2007 and 2010.

One of the women said she was inspired to come forward after a chambermaid at a luxury Manhattan hotel claimed she was sexually assaulted by International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been charged with attempted rape and has resigned.

Mr. Tron, 53, is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party. Mr. Strauss-Kahn was a leading presidential hopeful in next year’s elections for the rival Socialist Party.

A statement from Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s office noted Mr. Tron has denied the allegations, and the statement praised him for acting in the “general interest.”

The two women, ages 34 and 36, once worked at the town hall of Draveil, south of Paris, where Mr. Tron long has been mayor.

The women told newspaper Le Parisien that Mr. Tron assaulted them behind locked doors at the town hall.

One said that she was too ashamed to tell anyone at first but that she spoke out after the charges were brought in New York against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

“When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn’t have the right to keep quiet,” said the woman, who was not identified by name.

“Other women may be suffering what I suffered. I have to help them. We have to break this code of silence.”

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