French policemen on trial over alleged gang-rape of tourist at Paris headquarters

Officers invited Canadian woman to look around famous building before alleged attack

Chris Baynes
Monday 14 January 2019 13:09
Two officers are alleged to have raped a woman at 36 Quai des Orfevres, the headquarters of Paris police
Two officers are alleged to have raped a woman at 36 Quai des Orfevres, the headquarters of Paris police

Two French policemen have gone on trial accused of gang-raping a Canadian tourist at their headquarters in Paris.

The officers are alleged to have attacked the woman after meeting her in a pub and inviting her for a late-night tour of 36 Quai des Orfevres, a famous address depicted in many films and novels.

Both officers work for the elite BRI force, a unit of the French National Police that investigates gangs and serious crime.

The woman, aged in her 30s, met a group of officers at an Irish pub across the street from the police headquarters on the night of the alleged attack in April 2014.

After several drinks, the officers are said to have invited the woman to look around their workplace.

"I've seen so many films about the place and I was fascinated about it," she said in a November 2017 interview with France 3 TV.

While in the police building, the officers are alleged to have tried to ply the woman with whisky before raping her repeatedly.

“They smashed my face against the desk," she said. "I was stunned, I was seeing stars. I couldn't see anything for a while.”

Three officers were arrested after the woman filed a rape complaint, but only two have faced charges.

Judges initially threw out the case but the Paris prosecutor and the alleged victim won their appeal to have it brought to a trial, which starts on Monday.

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The officers, both aged in their late 40s, face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

One of the pair claims he had consensual sex with the woman. The other initially denied any sexual activity before saying there had been “reciprocal touching”.

The officers’ DNA was found on the woman’s underwear along with that of an unknown person.

The third suspect has not been found despite a major operation in which DNA samples were taken from hundreds of officers.

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