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Sophie Obadia (C), the lawyer of Canadian national Emily Spanton (back L), arrives with her client for a hearing at the Criminal Court in Paris on January 14, 2019. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Nation in shock

Elite French anti-terrorism officers on trial for allegedly gang raping Canadian woman

January 21, 2019

Two elite members of the French National Police are on trial in Paris for gang-raping a woman at their famous headquarters.

For the French, the case has been shocking — as much for the allegations targeted at individual officers as for what it means for the reputation of this police unit, the Guardian reports.

The officers, identified only as Major Nicolas R and Captain Antoine Q, belong to the Brigade de Recherches et d’Intervention (BRI), a prestigious unit that specializes in stopping terrorism and gang violence. According to the Guardian, the men stand accused of gang-raping a Canadian woman, Emily Spanton, who says she met the men at an Irish bar in Paris in 2014.

Testifying in court,  Spanton, 39, said she was drunk when the officers asked her if she wanted to see 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the famous BRI headquarters.

“They explained the police station had been the subject of films and made it sound like something I would want to see,” she said, according to the Guardian.

But when she was in the headquarters, she was raped by at least two men, Spanton said. When it was over, she tried to get up and leave, but was dragged into another office and allegedly raped again. Spanton believes at least three men raped her, but only two could be positively linked to the crime; DNA of both Nicholas R and Antoine Q was found on Spanton’s underwear. Spanton told the court that the men took her glasses away, so she was not able to see clearly.

She also alleged that when she told guards at the door of 36 Quai des Orfèvres that she had been raped, they told her to “go home.”

The alleged officers have both returned to work with the police force. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.

Read more at the Guardian.

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