PARIS—French officials have brought preliminary charges, including raping minors, against an associate of the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
French prosecutors alleged Saturday that modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel raped minors over the age of 15 and committed acts of sexual harassment. Mr. Brunel is also being questioned, though not charged, on suspicion of child sex trafficking, prosecutors said. He will remain in custody pending further investigation, the prosecutors added.
A lawyer for Mr. Brunel, Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Preliminary charges are an important step in the French judicial process that indicates authorities are deepening an investigation. Mr. Brunel is now under the authority of three investigating magistrates, who will work with police to gather evidence to determine whether—and on what formal charges—Mr. Brunel should stand trial.
Mr. Brunel was detained this week as he attempted to board a flight to Senegal from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, part of a nearly year-and-a-half investigation into allegations of underage rape and sex trafficking committed in France or against French people by Epstein and his accomplices, prosecutors said.