17 people charged with pedophilia in France made appeals

Seventeen out of 62 people convicted last month in a pedophilia trial in France filed appeals.

Thursday was the deadline for appealing convictions handed down by a criminal court in the city of Angers on July 27.

Prosecutors said 45 children between the ages of 6 months and 14 years were raped and abused by their parents, grandparents or acquaintances in Angers from 1999 to 2002 - at times in exchange for small amounts of money, food, alcohol or cigarettes.

Franck V., who received an 18-year sentence for raping or abusing his three children and allowing much of the network's abuse to occur at his apartment, was among those who appealed, as was Eric J., sentenced to 28 years in prison.

By French law, defendants cannot be identified by their last names - a measure to protect the identities of children involved.

"He has nothing to lose," said Eric J.'s lawyer, Laurence Charvoz. "During the whole trial, he didn't understand what was happening, it's only now that he realizes. Now he's in a state of extreme anguish."

More than half of the accused, ages 27 to 73, were unemployed and living off benefits in state-supported housing. Defense lawyers have said some suspects were illiterate and appeared not to fully understand the charges against them.

Only three of the 65 defendants were acquitted, the AP reports.

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