A judicial official says four firefighters in the French capital have been preliminarily charged with gang raping a colleague. Eight other firefighters received preliminary charges of aggravated violence.
The incident purportedly happened on a bus ride back from an athletic competition on May 6. A second firefighter has also alleged he was attacked.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity citing fire department policy, said Saturday that one of those charged remains in custody.
The official says the accused have claimed they were carrying out an initiation ritual common with new recruits and deny there was any sexual aggression.
Nicolas Cellupica, a lawyer for the two plaintiffs, has called for other firefighters who have suffered similar rituals to come forward.
As part of the alleged hazing incident, the young man was stripped and bitten, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
When he protested, several other young firemen pinned him down while one man sexually assaulted him. According to the claims, an officer was present but did not intervene.
Commentators say the affair threatens to damage the reputation of the Paris brigade, which has an 8,500-strong staff of men and women. Firefighting is one of France’s best-regarded professions and the Paris brigade is highly thought of.
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