PARIS — A man suspected of sexually assaulting dozens of women over more than 20 years has been arrested in northern France.

A prosecutor in Valenciennes, some 210 kilometers (130.5 miles) north of Paris, said that the suspect, whose identity was not revealed, admitted to raping or sexually assaulting about 40 women.

Prosecutor Jean-Philippe Vicentini told reporters Wednesday that the suspect was “just an ordinary person” without a criminal record who managed to escape police detection for years. Preliminary charges against him were filed after his DNA was found on several of his alleged victims.

Vicentini added that the suspect said he assaulted his victims because of “uncontrollable impulses.”

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