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Two Paris police charged with rape of Canadian tourist

The police judiciaire headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, Paris
The police judiciaire headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, Paris Open access/Mbzt

Two members of an elite French police unit have been charged with the rape of a Canadian tourist. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Sunday that he would take appropriate action if it was found that the rape had taken place in the historic headquarters of Paris’s police judicaire (PJ).

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Two police officers were released on Saturday, one without charge during the day, the other in the evening after being named as an “assisted witness”, a status that leaves open the possibility of charges later.

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Two others were charged and released on bail, although the public prosecutor had called for them to be kept in prison.

The charges were brought after the 34-year-old tourist went to the desk sergeant at the PJ’s headquarters on Paris’s Ile de la Cité and accused them of raping her after picking her up in an Irish pub and taking her to see the building.

The woman has undergone a medical examination and DNA samples have been taken.

One of the men says that consensual sex took place but “hotly denies” that rape took place, according to his lawyer, Sébastien Schapira.

In a statement Cazeneuve said he would “draw all the conclusions” if the accusations prove to be true and pointed out that disciplinary inquiries are already under way.

Even if no rape took place, visiting the building after an evening of drinking would be a disciplinary matter, interior ministry sources say.

The historic police headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres has been the scene of many films, TV shows and novels, including Georges Simenon’s Maigret stories.

The PJ is to leave the Ile de la Cité for modern offices in a massive complex that will include courts and other police services in the north of Paris in 2017.

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