France: Alleged rape at presidential palace investigated

PARIS (AP) — French authorities are investigating an alleged rape that occurred earlier this year in the presidential Elysee Palace, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Friday.

The prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press the investigation was opened on July 12. But it did not immediately confirm French media reports saying a female soldier guarding the palace had accused a serviceman of rape on July 1.

French media have also reported that President Emmanuel Macron was not nearby when the attack allegedly took place but had been at an event earlier in the evening. Macron resides at the Elysee.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said the accused serviceman has been questioned as an “assisted witness,” a status that means he was not interviewed as a suspect facing potential charges.

The office would not confirm or provide further details.

The Elysee said it would not comment on an ongoing judicial investigation. But it said that as soon as the palace heard about the case, “measures have immediately been taken: listening, supporting and accompanying the victim.”

The Elysee said the accused serviceman has been moved away from his post at the presidential palace and that officials are awaiting the findings of the judicial investigation before deciding whether other actions are needed.

French media have reported that Defense Minister Florence Parly launched an internal administrative investigation into the alleged rape.

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