Swedish court finds man at centre of Nobel prize scandal guilty of rape

Arnault arrives to trial. TT News Agency/Fredrik Sandberg via REUTERS

Jean-Claude Arnault, the man in the eye of the sexual assault scandal which forced the 2018 Nobel prize in literature to be cancelled, has been convicted of rape.

For the first time since 1949, the world’s most prestigious literary prize was not handed out this year, to instead reveal two laureates in 2019. This is due to the 18 allegations of sexual harassment and physical abuse that husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson is facing.

A Swedish court has found Jean-Claude Arnault guilty of rape and sentenced him to two years in jail. Arnault, 72, pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape in a district court in Stockholm. The court acquitted him of one.

With Academy members down to only 10 and statutes saying 12 are needed to vote in new members, previous Permanent Secretary Sara Danius and two other members who have effectively left, have said they are willing to take part in important votes such as filling vacant seats.

The Nobel Foundation could drop the Swedish Academy from awarding its prestigious literature prize if the Academy does not make further changes in the wake of the sex scandal, the head of the foundation told Reuters on Friday.

The verdict coincides with this year’s Nobel Prize announcements.