Epstein-linked modeling agent charged with rape of minors

National & World News

FILE – In this Aug.13, 2019 file photo, a man walks his dog next to an apartment building owned by Jeffrey Epstein in Paris. Modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel who was close to U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein has been taken into custody in France, suspected of an array of crimes, including the rape of minors and trafficking minors for sexual exploitation, Paris prosecutors said Thursday. The prosecutors’ office said Jean-Luc Brunel was detained for questioning on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

PARIS (AP) — A modeling agent associated with disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein has been charged in France with sexual harassment and the rape of minors over 15 years old.

Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation on Wednesday at Charles de Gaulle airport as he was preparing to take a flight to Senegal.

The Paris prosecutor announced in a statement Saturday that the charges were handed out Friday by a magistrate at the end of Brunel’s custody period. It said Brunel was not handed any human trafficking charges, which was one of the main lines of inquiry. The magistrate decided that there was not currently enough evidence to rule on that count, but he was not acquitted and could be charged in the future if anything new emerges. Brunel was remanded in custody.

Brunel is being investigated as part of a broad French probe into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by Epstein and his circle. Multiple women have identified themselves as victims and spoken to police since the French probe was opened in August last year, the same month in which Epstein committed suicide in jail.

A former model who testified to French police that she was drugged and raped as a teenager by Brunel said she wept tears of joy at the news of his detention.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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