French prosecutors investigate alleged rape at presidential palace

Generic night-time view of the front entrance to the Elysee Palace, the official home of the French President
Photo: Ludovic Marin / AFP
Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into an alleged rape of a female soldier by a fellow serviceman at the French presidential palace in Paris last July, according to reports.

The alleged assault took place last July at the Elysée Palace following a reception attended by President Emmanuel Macron, according to French daily Liberation, which first reported the accusations.

The soldier was first interviewed by prosecutors on July 12, and remains subject to further questioning but has not been formally charged with an offence, a judicial source told AFP on Friday.

Macron’s office has made avoiding presidential scandals a priority since the revelations that one of his bodyguards assaulted young demonstrators during a May Day protest in 2018.

Last week the bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, was handed a three-year sentence over the incident two of which were suspended. Under French sentencing rules he will serve his sentence outside prison, wearing an electronic tag.

According to Liberation, the two soldiers were colleagues deployed at the high-security office at the Elysée Palace dealing with sensitive government matters, most of them classified or top secret.

It said that the young woman filed the rape complaint at a nearby police station, and that the alleged accuser has been removed from duty at the Elysée.

Asked for comment, a presidential official told AFP that, ‘as soon as the authorities were aware of these claims, measures were immediately taken’, to support the alleged victim and, ‘the person accused was immediately transferred far from the Elysée’.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.


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