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Canadian tourist recounts alleged rape at hands of French police at Paris HQ

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Canadian tourist recounts alleged rape at hands of French police at Paris HQ
Photo: Screengrab France 3
09:41 CET+01:00
A Canadian tourist who was the victim of an alleged rape by French policeman at the legendary Paris police HQ by the banks of the Seine has spoken out for the first time about the night she was attacked and how her life has changed for the worse.
 
In an interview with France 3 TV from her Ontario home, Sponton said she had been drinking with the three police officers who had been regaling her with stories of their work at the police HQ, the legendary Quai des Orfèvres on the banks of the River Seine in the heart of Paris.
 
 
"I've seen so many films about the place and I was fascinated about it," she said. 
 
The officers then offered to give her a tour of the building but once there Sponton says they tried to force her to drink large amount of whisky.
 
But then according to her, the atmosphere changed.
 
"It became very different when I refused to do what they wanted," she said. "They smashed my face against the desk. I was stunned, I was seeing stars. I couldn't see anything for a while. I couldn't see them either, they were behind me."
 
She then says she was raped several times while her head was held down against the desk.
 
She was later found lying on the street outside the police HQ by a policewoman who took her to a nearby hospital. On examination she was found to have bruises and lesions in the genital area. She immediately filed a complaint for rape before heading home to Canada.
 
The three accused officers were later arrested, with two finally set to face trial on charges of gang rape. That came after Sponton had won her appeal to see the case brought back to court after judges initially threw it out last year.
 
"This decision restores the dignity of my client, who has been dragged through the mud during this investigation," her lawyer Sophie Obadia said in September.
 
"The judicial authorities have finally recognised that this woman, who is a foreigner and in a vulnerable position, has been sexually abused," the lawyer added.
 
One of the officers says he had "consensual" sexual relations with the woman. The other denied having any relations with her, before saying there had been "reciprocal touching".
 
The men's DNA was found on the tourist's underwear, along with that of another unknown person.
 
A major operation to take DNA samples from police was carried out in September 2015, but no third suspect was found.
 
Prosecutors argued in June 2017 that the woman's "free and cheerful behaviour" did not indicate consent.
 
Speaking to France 3 Sponton said: "There is no other word for it. It's rape. When I hear [the accused police officers] I want to stand up and shout 'I am not a liar, this really happened to me, how dare you?'"
 
The woman says her life is very different since that night in April 2014.
 
"Before I was a happy person, open but now I am closed and isolated. That's why this trial is very important for me."
 
A date for the trial has not been set.
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