A French senator has been preliminarily accused of drugging a female legislator for the purpose of rape or sexual assault, the Paris prosecutor’s office reported. He left or suspended her.
Joel Guerriau, 66, a representative of the Loire-Atlantique region in western France, was detained for 48 hours and presented with preliminary charges on Friday, prosecutors said in a statement.
He is suspected of pouring ecstasy into a glass of champagne that he served to MP Sandrine Josso, who felt dizzy and left. The incident happened Tuesday at the senator’s apartment.
Her lawyer said Guerriau did not intend to drug Josso to abuse her and has apologized. Lawyer Remi-Pierre Drai said in a statement that the legislator felt bad due to “a manipulation error,” without going into details.
”Joel Guerriau is not a predator,” the lawyer said. “He is an honest, respected and respectable man who will restore his honor and that of his family, no matter how long it takes.”
Guerriau was preliminarily accused of drug use and possession and of stealthily supplying a substance that impairs judgment with the purpose of committing rape or sexual assault. He was released on probation and prohibited from having contact with the victim and witnesses while the investigation continues.
Under French law, preliminary indictment means that investigating magistrates have strong suspicions that a crime has been committed, but need more time to determine whether the case should go to trial.
Following the announcement of the charges, the center-right group Horizontes announced the suspension and said it “will never tolerate the slightest complacency toward sexual and sexist violence.” Horizons is a parliamentary ally of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party.
Josso, a representative of the Loire-Atlantique region in the lower house for the centrist Modem party, has not made public statements about the investigation.