French ambassador faces investigation for alleged ‘stealthing’ during sex

Paris prosecutors are investigating a French ambassador for allegedly not using a condom as requested during consensual sex, a practice known as "stealthing", a source close to the inquiry said on Tuesday.

French ambassador faces investigation for alleged 'stealthing' during sex
Illustration photo: AFP

The woman, 30, told police she had spent part of the night at the home of the 44-year-old envoy she met through a dating site.

“They had met up several times without any sexual relations. That evening, they had consensual sex,” the source said, confirming a report in French magazine Le Point.

“She asked him to use a condom but realised during the act that the man was not wearing one,” the source added.

The woman filed her complaint three days later.

The source did not identify the envoy by name, while Le Point said only that he is based in the Middle East.

French law defines rape as “any sexual penetration… committed against another through violence, force, threat or surprise.”

But no clear jurisprudence exists for “stealthing”, which is when a man removes a condom while having sex with a partner who requested  he wear one, potentially exposing him or her to HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, or a woman to an unwanted pregnancy.

In January 2017, a court in Lausanne, Switzerland, handed a Frenchman a suspended 12-month prison sentence after convicting him of “rape” for removing his condom without telling his partner.

A few months later, the sentence was upheld on appeal, but the court lowered the charge to “a sexual act committed against a person unable to discern or resist it.”

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French minister investigated after rape allegations

A junior minister in President Emmanuel Macron's government is under investigation after two allegations of rape were brought against her, French prosecutors have said.

French minister investigated after rape allegations

The allegations go back to when Chrysoula Zacharopoulou – who is now state secretary for development, Francophonie and international partnerships – worked as a gynaecologist, according to French magazine Marianne.

One complaint was lodged on May 25th and the investigation opened two days later, the prosecutors said. The second complaint was filed on June 16th.

Greece-born Zacharopoulou, 46, joined the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in May, having been a member of the European Parliament for the previous three years. She reports to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

She gained prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis together with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married former French president Francois Hollande.

Zacharopoulou was strongly involved in the UN’s COVAX coronavirus vaccine rollout effort, and has spoken out in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

These are not the first rape allegations to overshadow Macron’s government and come at a time of political difficulty for the president after he failed to retain a majority in parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors investigated Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin over an allegation for rape filed in 2017. He denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors in
January asked for the case to be dropped.

Rape allegations were also made against Solidarities minister Damien Abad last month but French prosecutors have said they were not currently opening an investigation.