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PARIS — A modeling agent suspected of having organized “the accommodation of young girls or young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein” has been charged with rape of minors, a French prosecutor announced on Saturday.

Jean Luc Brunel was arrested on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation at Charles de Gaulle airport as he was about to take a flight to Senegal.

Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz said in a statement that he had been charged with sexual harassment and rape of a minor over 15 by a magistrate on Friday, after Brunel was released from police custody.

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Brunel, who was taken into custody, “is suspected of having committed acts of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment on various minor and adult victims and of having in particular organized the transport and accommodation of young girls or young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein”. “, Heitz said.

He has not been charged with human trafficking, one of the main lines of inquiry, as the magistrate decided there is currently insufficient evidence to rule on this count. .

However, he was not acquitted and was given the status of “assisted witness of aggravated human trafficking”. This means he can be questioned by three investigating judges and could be charged in the future if anything new emerges.

A lawyer for Brunel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Protesters hold signs of Jeffrey Epstein outside the federal courthouse on July 8, 2019 in New York City.File Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Several women have identified themselves as victims and spoken to police since the French investigation opened in August last year, the same month in which Epstein killed himself in prison.

He previously denied any wrongdoing in a 2015 lawsuit against Epstein in which he alleged “negative publicity” surrounding the financier damaged his reputation.

The arrest comes more than a year after the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into sexual abuse linked to Epstein and his possible accomplices on French victims or on French territory.

An accuser of Epstein, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said she was also abused by Brunel. Giuffre claimed in a 2016 deposition made public last year that Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell ordered him to provide sexual services to Brunel.

Speaking to NBC’s “Dateline” in a special that aired last September, Giuffre said Epstein told him he had slept with “over a thousand women that Brunel had brought.”

Epstein died by suicide in a New York prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell, his longtime confidant, was arrested in July and remains imprisoned in New York.

Nancy Ing reported from Paris and Isobel van Hagen from London.

Sarah Fitzpatrick contributed.