Former Epstein associate Jean-Luc Brunel’s arrest in Paris brings “tears of joy” for alleged victims

Paris — A French former mannequin agent accused of procuring underage ladies for the late financier and convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein was detained by French police Wednesday at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport as he tried to go away the nation. Prosecution sources affirm to CBS Information that Jean-Luc Brunel is now being questioned by Paris police and will face a spread of intercourse expenses.

Brunel faces attainable expenses of rape and sexual assault, together with of minors, some below the age of 15; sexual harassment and intercourse trafficking of minors.

French police had been in search of him since an investigation was opened in August final 12 months. A name for witnesses in September 2019 noticed a number of former fashions come ahead with particulars of alleged assaults spanning three many years.

Brunel was as soon as an in depth pal of Epstein, the billionaire financier who was discovered useless in his jail cell in New York in August 2019 whereas awaiting trial on expenses of intercourse trafficking. His loss of life was dominated an “obvious suicide.”

At the very least considered one of Epstein’s accusers mentioned Brunel used his place within the modeling world to acquire girls and underage ladies for the billionaire.

Brunel and Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, are alleged to have helped the financier discover underage ladies. Each have denied the allegations. Maxwell is at the moment in jail in New York awaiting trial.

Among the many girls who got here ahead to allege assault by Brunel in France was a Canadian former mannequin. Talking solely to CBS Information final 12 months, she mentioned Brunel spiked her drink and raped her in his Paris residence in 1987.

“I am crying tears of pleasure,” the Canadian, who most well-liked to not be named, instructed CBS Information after studying of Brunel’s arrest. “I am nonetheless crying – it has introduced all of it again once more, however they’re tears of pleasure. I hope this time justice can be finished – I hope he does not get away with it.”

Her case, like these of a number of different girls who got here ahead, won’t go to trial as a result of the statute of limitations on bringing rape expenses in France is 20 years. However she mentioned she hopes investigators can have sufficient proof to construct a case in opposition to him.

“I am simply very joyful — I really feel that lastly somebody is listening to us,” she mentioned.

On an evening out clubbing in 1987, she says Brunel, whom she knew from her modeling work, requested her to accompany him to his residence to choose one thing up, which she did.

As soon as there, “he came to visit and mentioned, ‘would you like a drink?’ and I used to be like, ‘Certain, why not?’ After which I do not bear in mind something. He had drugged my drink.

“The subsequent factor I bear in mind is waking up in his mattress. He was beside me, and he was sleeping and bare, and I used to be questioning how I acquired there. And I bear in mind sliding out of the mattress and doing all the things to only not wake him up.

Panicked and unable to search out the door out of the residence, she referred to as a pal to ask him to come back get her.

“I will bounce from the window and also you catch me,” she instructed him, despite the fact that the residence was 4 flooring up. “Fortunately he was there to calm me down and all the things, ‘trigger I might have jumped,” she mentioned.

She mentioned she felt too ashamed to go to the police on the time. When the Epstein case made the headlines, she noticed Brunel’s title related to him and determined it was time to come back ahead. At the very least eight different alleged victims did, too.

One other girl who went to the police final 12 months was Thysia Huisman, a Dutch former mannequin, who instructed officers that Brunel drugged and raped her in 1991 when she was 18.

“It is nice he has been arrested; it is fairly overwhelming,” she instructed CBS Information on Friday. “To be trustworthy, I did not count on it anymore.”

The police contacted her after Brunel’s arrest and mentioned they have been questioning him. Huisman wrote a ebook about her modeling profession in Paris, and the assault, referred to as “Shut-Up,” which got here out within the Netherlands in November.

Brunel has at all times denied any wrongdoing. He disappeared shortly after Epstein’s arrest final 12 months however mentioned that he needed to reply the accusations in opposition to him.

He didn’t, nonetheless, hand himself over to police, and that is the primary likelihood they’ve needed to query him on the allegations.

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