AP

Model cries ‘tears of joy’ as agent associated with Jeffrey Epstien arrested

Dec 17, 2020, 10:21 AM
FILE - In this Aug.13, 2019 file photo, a man walks his dog next to an apartment building owned by ...
FILE - In this Aug.13, 2019 file photo, a man walks his dog next to an apartment building owned by Jeffrey Epstein in Paris. Modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel who was close to U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein has been taken into custody in France, suspected of an array of crimes, including the rape of minors and trafficking minors for sexual exploitation, Paris prosecutors said Thursday. The prosecutors' office said Jean-Luc Brunel was detained for questioning on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
(AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

LE PECQ, France (AP) — A former model who testified to French police that she was drugged and raped as a teenager by an associate of disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein said she wept “tears of joy” Thursday after the modeling agent was taken into custody at Paris’ main airport for an array of suspected sex crimes.

The French agent, Jean-Luc Brunel, was detained Wednesday at Charles de Gaulle airport and was being held in police custody for questioning, the Paris prosecutors’ office said. Prosecutors didn’t specify whether Brunel was arriving or departing when he was picked up. At this point, he has not been formally charged.

Dutch former model Thysia Huisman is among women who have accused Brunel of rape and sexual assault, as part of what has become a broad French probe into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by Epstein and his circle.

Brunel’s lawyer in Paris wasn’t immediately available to comment on his arrest. But she has previously said that Brunel “firmly contests” accusations against him and that he was available to talk to investigators.

Contacted for comment by The Associated Press, Huisman described Brunel’s arrest as “such great news. Best Christmas present ever.”

She broke down in tears when the prosecutors’ list of suspected sex crimes for which Brunel was detained was read to her over the telephone. The list includes multiple possible charges of rape and sexual assault, including of minors aged 15 and older, and the suspected trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation.

“It sounds like he is not getting out,” Huisman said. “That’s great. Absolutely. Tears of joy.”

Huisman is among at least a dozen people known to have given evidence for the French probe. She says she told police that she was drugged and raped in 1991 at age 18 by Brunel. She believes that her accusations now fall outside of French legal time-limits for prosecutions, meaning Brunel won’t have to answer them. But she says she went public with them partly in hope that doing so might encourage other alleged victims to come forward.

Multiple women have identified themselves as victims and spoken to police since the French probe was opened in August last year. Prosecutors have previously said that police have questioned at least eight alleged victims of rape and other abuse, and four other people who say they were witnesses.

Brunel was considered central to the French investigation because he was a frequent companion of Epstein, who traveled often to France and had apartments in Paris.

Epstein killed himself Aug. 10, 2019, in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that Brunel procured women, some of them minors, for sex with Epstein and other people, luring them with promises of modeling work.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

a small boy recieves a COVID-19 vaccine in China...
JOE McDONALD Associated Press

China eases anti-COVID measures following protests

Experts warn, however, that restrictions can’t be lifted completely until at least mid-2023 because millions of elderly people still must be vaccinated.
23 hours ago
A memorial is pictured near the scene of the Colorado shooting at Club Q...
COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press

Colorado gay club shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

Investigators say Anderson Lee Aldrich entered Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in this mostly conservative city, just before midnight on Nov. 19.
2 days ago
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
ALI ABDUL-HASSAN and ABBY SEWELL Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.
9 days ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
11 days ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
12 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Model cries ‘tears of joy’ as agent associated with Jeffrey Epstien arrested