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Chretien’s Son Innocent of Sex Assault

May 16, 2003

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories (AP) _ A son of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien was found innocent of three counts of sexual assault.

Michel Charles Chretien, 34, showed no emotion as the verdict was announced late Thursday, court officials said.

Chretien was arrested in July when a 19-year-old woman alleged that he assaulted her after a night of heavy drinking. The woman said Chretien had also assaulted her years ago when she was 10 or 11.

A publication ban imposed by the court prohibits reporting on any details of the third charge.

The six men and six women on the jury made their decision after five hours of deliberation. Chretien’s accuser was not in court for the verdict, nor were his parents.

Chretien was sentenced to three years in prison in 1992 for sexually assaulting a woman he met in a Montreal bar. In February 1998, he received a nine-month suspended sentence for assaulting his former girlfriend’s 6-year-old son and was ordered to perform 60 hours of community service.

The Chretiens, who have two other children, adopted Michel from an orphanage of the native Inuvik tribe in the 1970s. At the time, Jean Chretien was minister of Indian affairs.

The family has largely avoided discussing Michel’s legal troubles in public.

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