French police took into custody a North African migrant suspected of having raped a 27-year-old American woman in Paris’ fashionable fourth district, regional news portal BFMTV reports.
The victim was on vacation in the capital together with her partner. In the evening, the couple went out for a drink on the waterfront promenade near Notre Dame Cathedral and Paris City Hall. The area is popular with Parisians and tourists alike in the summer, and the waterfront is usually bustling day and night.
The tourist and her friend headed back to their accommodation shortly after midnight on Saturday and stopped at a public toilet near the Louis Philippe bridge.
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The toilet, located not far from local bars, is considered safe and well-maintained. The woman’s partner was waiting outside, but when she did not return for a long time, he went to look for her. In the women’s toilets, he then heard crying from one of the cubicles and caught the attacker in the act. He then detained the fleeing man with the help of passers-by until the police arrived, who immediately arrested him.
The 23-year-old offender is homeless and comes from North Africa. During questioning, the man told the police that it was not rape, as the woman allegedly consented to sex. The victim, who was taken to a Paris hospital by paramedics after the attack, denies the suspect’s claims.
The French police subsequently accused the perpetrator of rape and are holding him in custody. After being released from the hospital, the woman returned home to the U.S. with her partner, from where she continues to cooperate with French investigators.