France investigates rape at Presidential palace

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into an alleged rape at the presidential palace in Paris.

Local media report a female soldier has said she was sexually assaulted after a drinks reception at the Élysée palace in July.

President Emmanuel Macron had earlier attended the event, held for departing staff.

The accused – also a soldier – has been questioned, but has not yet been formally charged, reports say.

Both the alleged victim and accused attacker reportedly worked at a high-security staff office in the building, and Libération said they knew each other.

A presidential official told the AFP news agency that “as soon as the authorities were aware of these claims, measures were immediately taken” to support the alleged victim.

Both she and the accused have been moved to other duties, the palace has said.

On the evening of 1 July, there was a drinks party at the Elysée to bid farewell to a departing senior officer – a member of President Macron’s personal military staff.

The president himself made a short address before leaving, but afterwards it’s alleged that the drinking continued.

It was then that a woman soldier claimed that she was sexually assaulted by one of her colleagues.

She lodged a formal complaint at a police station the next day, and shortly afterwards a criminal investigation was launched.

The alleged assailant was placed under the status of “assisted witness”, which is a step short of actually being charged.