An official probe has been launched after a 34-year-old Canadian tourist reported at least one intoxicated police officer she met in a pub in central Paris took her back to police headquarters, widely known by its address -36, Quai des Orfevres and raped her.
The woman, originally from Toronto and reportedly the daughter of a police chief, was in Paris for a two-week holiday when she says she ran into some officers at a pub some time late on Tuesday night. According to several French media reports the bar was an Irish pub in the 5th arrondissement. Other news sites however say it was a bar in the neighboring 7th arrondissement.
After chatting for a bit with the men she alleges she was invited to visit the headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, an iconic building on the bank of the River Seine that has provided inspiration for crime writers and TV shows.
She reportedly agreed to go to the headquarters, but what happened next is at the heart of the allegations. She says the officers, who include a captain belonging to an elite anti-gang unit, sexually assaulted her in an office on the premises.
A short time later the woman was found near the police headquarters in a state of distress by officers directing traffic, reports say. She filed a complaint a few hours later.
Four officers were being held for questioning on Friday and internal affairs investigators have launched a probe into the allegations to accompany the criminal investigation. The officers, who worked for the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI), a unit set up to combat gang crime, have denied any sexual contact with the women, AFP reported.
The four officers can be held for up to 48 hours before they must be brought before a judge for a decision on whether they are to be charged.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was forced to weigh in on the allegations on Friday and vowed to take "all the necessary measures" if the accusation against the four officers is proven.
"I want the justice system and the police inspectorate to complete their investigations so that the truth can be established," Cazeneuve said in a speech to police in Marseille on Friday.