PARIS – A former model who testified to French police that she was drugged and raped as a teenager by an associate of disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein said she wept “tears of joy” Thursday after the modeling agent was taken into custody at Paris' main airport for an array of suspected sex crimes.
The French agent, Jean-Luc Brunel, was detained Wednesday at Charles de Gaulle airport and was being held in police custody for questioning, the Paris prosecutors' office said. Prosecutors didn’t specify whether Brunel was arriving or departing when he was picked up. French media said he was preparing to fly to Senegal.
At this point, Brunel has not been formally charged.
His lawyer in Paris wasn’t immediately available to comment on his arrest. But she has previously said that Brunel “firmly contests” accusations against him and that he was available to talk to investigators.
Dutch former model Thysia Huisman is among women who have accused Brunel of rape and sexual assault, as part of what has become a broad French probe into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by Epstein and his circle.
Contacted for comment by The Associated Press, Huisman described Brunel's arrest as “such great news. Best Christmas present ever.”
She broke down in tears when the prosecutors' list of suspected sex crimes for which Brunel was detained was read to her over the telephone. The list includes multiple possible charges of rape and sexual assault, including of minors aged 15 and older, and the suspected trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation.
“It sounds like he is not getting out,” Huisman said. “That's great. Absolutely. Tears of joy.”