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French rugby players accused of rape in Argentina await trial

French rugby players Oscar Jegou and Hugo Auradou must be present at the tournament. Argentine justice à Mendoza (west), where they are accused of having raped in their hotel last Saturday, after a match of the XV of France, a woman who, according to her lawyer, suffered “terrible” violence.

The second line of Pau Hugo Auradou, 20 years old, and the third line of La Rochelle Oscar Jegou, 21 years old, were placed in police custody after their arrest on Monday as part of the open investigation for sexual violence.

They are expected in Mendoza, 1,100 kilometers from the capital Buenos Aires, where they must face justice.

“This would be particularly sexual abuse atrocious, with sexual intercourse, with the participation of two people, with violence, for both”, declared during an interview with AFP on Wednesday Me Natacha Romano, the lawyer of the 39-year-old complainant who is also daughter and sister of lawyers.

She referred to “penetrative sexual abuse”, the judicial definition of rape in Argentina.

In Argentine law, sexual violence can characterize acts, ranging from sexual assault to aggravated rape, which could be punishable by 20 years in prison.< /p>

French rugby players accused of rape in Argentina await trial

French XV player Oscar Jegou on July 2, 2024 in San Isidro, in the province of Buenos Aires © AFP – Tomas CUESTA

Oscar Jegou and Hugo Auradou for their part “confirmed having had a sexual relationship with the young woman during the night but (…) firmly denied any form of violence”, according to a press release from the Federation French Rugby League (FFR) published Tuesday.

These sexual relations were “consensual”, said Wednesday in Mendoza the lawyer of the two rugby players, Me Rafael Cuneo Libarona.

“She claims to have been beaten, the cameras ( hotel surveillance) say that it was not”, he explained to several media including AFP.

The The alleged attack took place during the night from Saturday to Sunday at the Diplomatic Hotel in Mendoza, where French players and staff were staying, after the victory (28-13) of the French XV against the Argentinians.

Police sources told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that the players had met the alleged victim in a bar. They allegedly consumed alcohol together, then the complainant, “feeling dizzy”, was taken to their hotel.

– “Punch” –

According to Me Natacha Romano's version, her client returned to the hotel with one of the two players involved, “first identified as Hugo (Auradou)”. Still according to Mr. Romano, “he immediately grabs her, throws her on the bed, begins to undress her and begins to savagely punch her, the hematoma of which is visible on the victim's face . He suffocates her, to the point that she feels like she's leaving.”

French rugby players accused of rape in Argentina await trial

Natacha Romano, lawyer for the complainant who accuses two players of the French XV of rape, on July 10, 2024 during an interview with AFP in Mendoza, Argentina © AFP – LUIS ROBAYO

About an hour later, “enters the second, who is called Oscar”, assured the lawyer, accusing him of “the same acts of violence and sexual abuse”.< /p>

“She tries to escape at least five times. But Hugo wakes up and takes her back,” she said again.

“For the moment, the accusation is that of sexual abuse, but there is a strong possibility that this could evolve into an accusation combining other charges,” she said. estimated.

According to the Attorney General of Mendoza Daniela Chaler, “the testimony (of the complainant, editor's note) was quite long, complete, detailed and corresponded, for the moment, to the medico-legal conclusions”.

“The injuries are compatible with the victim's story but not necessarily exclusively the result of a sexual assault”, added on LV10 radio the magistrate who requested the placement in pre-trial detention of the two players.

– “Let justice go quickly” –

The president of the French Rugby Federation Florian Grill, who met the two players in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, hopes “that justice will go quickly”, as he explained to AFP.

“We went to see, today (Wednesday, Editor's note), in Mendoza, a right-hand man of the prosecutor and the person in charge of the case: the lawyer was able to present several points which question the initial declaration and which will put into question several statements,” he continued.

French rugby players accused of rape in Argentina await trial

The president of the French Rugby Federation Florian Grill (right), the vice-president of the FFR Jean-Marc Lhermet (left) and Rafael Cuneo Libarona (center), lawyer for the French XV players Hugo Auradou and Oscar Jegou, the July 10, 2024 in Mendoza, Argentina © AFP – Luis ROBAYO

“If the investigation establishes the alleged facts, they constitute an unspeakable atrocity. Thoughts for the victim”, wrote on X Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the French Minister of Sports, after the revelation of the 'affair which plunged the XV of France into turmoil.

“It was a very difficult day, very, very hard. A very difficult moment to live through”, for his part underlined the coach of the Blues, Fabien Galthié, Tuesday.

Victorious for Uruguay (43-28) on Wednesday, the XV of France must once again challenge the Pumas on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116