French senator charged on suspicion of drugging MP with intent to commit rape | France
A French senator has been charged on suspicion of drugging a member of parliament with the intent to rape or sexually assault her.
Joël Guerriau, 66, a centre-right politician from western France, was arrested on Thursday at his Paris home.
The French prosecutor’s office told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Guerriau, a senator for Loire-Atlantique, had been questioned on Friday over “administering to a person, without their knowledge, a substance that could alter their judgment or self-control in order to commit a rape or sexual assault”. The alleged incident took place on Tuesday night.
The woman who filed the police complaint was a member of the lower house of parliament, the Assemblée Nationale.
She allegedly became ill after drinking from a glass at Guerriau’s home. Prosecutors said that the two politicians were not in a relationship. Medical tests on the woman had revealed the presence of ecstasy, prompting her to file a criminal complaint with police.
Guerriau’s lawyer Rémi-Pierre Drai, issued a statement to AFP on Friday night saying that at the end of his police questioning, Guerriau was also charged with possession and use of substances classed as drugs.
Guerriau was placed under judicial supervision and was banned from visiting the home of the alleged victim, and from contacting her or any witnesses.
Drai said: “He will fight to prove that he never intended to administer a substance to his work colleague and longstanding friend to abuse her.” He added: “Joël Guerriau is not a predator … he is an honest man, respected and respectable who will restore his honour and that of his family.”
Earlier, Julia Minkowski, lawyer for the woman, told AFP that her client was “still in a state of shock”.
She had said she felt unwell after drinking a glass of champagne and had seen the senator “grabbing a small plastic bag containing something white, in a drawer in his kitchen.”
Minkowski said: “She had to deploy monumental physical and intellectual forces to overcome her terror and extricate herself at the last minute from this ambush. Added to this is a feeling of betrayal and total incomprehension – Joël Guerriau had been a friend for around 10 years in whom she had complete confidence.”
Guerriau, a banker, was elected to the senate in 2011 and is vice-president of its foreign affairs, defence and armed forces commission.