Friday 20 October 2017

50 Shades of Subterfuge: Rape charges as 'male model' offering sex in dark turns out to be balding 68-year-old

A 68-year old Frenchman faces rape charges for fooling women into having 50 Shades of Grey-style sex in the dark on first date after usurping identity of a 37-year old male model

Fifty Shades of Grey book cover
Fifty Shades of Grey book cover

Henry Samuel, Paris

A Frenchman masquerading as a 37-year old "male model" offering women 50 Shades of Grey-type sex dates in the dark is facing rape charges after they belatedly discovered he was a short, fat and balding 68-year old.

A man calling himself Anthony Laroche attracted much female interest on several dating websites after depicting himself as a young, mysterious prince charming with a photo highlighting his smouldering gaze, square jaw and designer stubble.

Adding spice to the proceedings, "Anthony" proposed a "blind" date in which the two total strangers had sex in the dark on their first encounter at his flat in Nice, southern France.

One such date known only as Sylvie, 40, told police that she fell for the "good-looking man with brown hair and blue eyes" after coming across his profile on dating site Zoosk.

After a steamy text message exchange last year, "he explained he wanted to play a game like in 50 Shades of Grey to make things more exciting," Le Parisien newspaper cites her as saying.

Once inside his dark flat, she was ordered to don a blindfold and then join "Anthony" in the bedroom. After having sex and despite his reticence to turn on the lights, she flicked the switch to find herself in bed with "a man of around 65 with glasses, balding and all wrinkly," she is cited as saying. "He didn't correspond at all to the photo. I felt total disgust."

A second alleged victim known only as Leïla had a similar experience.

After sex, "he didn't want me to take off the blindfold. When I insisted, he got angry. I ended up seeing his silhouette in the dark. He was old, pot-bellied with a big nose," she said. "I told him: 'It wasn't you in the photo.' He said: 'No, but I had grown fond of you and was afraid to admit it.' I left in disgust."

Police arrested the 68-year old man, known only as Michel, on March 17, placing him under formal investigation for "rape by surprise". During questioning, he reportedly admitted to having found a photo of a male model "on Google" as a "way of maintaining my anonymity".

Asked whether he had committed rape, he reportedly said: "For me, when she entered the bedroom naked, she was consenting. At that moment, she couldn't care less what I looked like.

"If she had asked just once if I was really the man in the photo, I would have told her the truth," he is cited as saying.

He added: "Some women have a crazy side to them and like men who surprise them."

His lawyer, Laurent Poumarède, said at no time did his client force the women to have sex.

"Rape implies the absence of consent. Here the women were at no time forced. As for the photos of the model, they were too good to be true. I wonder if these women didn't knowingly close their eyes to the truth in more ways than one."

Mohamed Maktouf, lawyer for one of the alleged victims, said: "There was no violence but these are nevertheless rapes.

"The law is clear: a partner's consent must be enlightened, whereas this man put in place a stratagem that enabled him to have sexual relations that he would never had if he had acted in the open."

Police subsequently discovered that two other women had filed similar legal complaints in 2009 and 2013, which were never followed up. They found he had been in contact with 342 women between the ages of 25 and 50 "throughout France", and had "intimate photos" of 200 different women.

"Investigators are now trying to work out whether other victims are among these," a source close to the inquiry told Le Parisien.

Telegraph.co.uk

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