On Wednesday, French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested on accusations of “rape and sexual assault, rape and sexual assault on a minor under 15, rape and sexual assault on a minor over 15, sexual harassment, criminal associations and human trafficking to the detriment of minor victims for the purposes of sexual exploitation,” according to CNN. Brunel, who credits himself with discovering models like Christy Turlington and Jerry Hall, was allegedly an associate of the late Jeffrey Epstein and his arrest comes on the heels of an investigation by French authorities that began in 2019. Authorities were specifically targeting any criminal sexual acts linked to Epstein and his associates committed on French soil.
Although this particular investigation into Brunel didn’t get underway until 2019, accusations against the agent date as far back as the 1980s, with models claiming they had been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by Brunel. In 2015, Brunel explicitly denied any wrongdoing in relation to accusations brought by three models who told The Guardian they had been assaulted by Brunel in the ’80s and ’90s. In 1988, Brunel was mentioned in a 60 Minutes segment in which American models in France spoke to the various ways they had been mistreated, physically as well as financially. In the segment, the models mention that Brunel was careful not to approach some models who were under the protection of Ford Model Management at the time, but instead targeted other models whose agencies didn’t care for them at all.
Epstein was arrested in 2019 on suspicions of operating a sex trafficking ring using his homes in New York and Florida as well as his private island to lure women and sexually assault them himself or pass them to his high profile friends, allegedly. He died in prison the same year before the trial could reach a conclusion.
Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime friend was also arrested in July of this year and charged with assisting in sex trafficking and two counts of perjury. She plead not guilty. Ghislaine was denied bail and will be held until her trial date which is expected to take place in July of next year.