Three former models said they were sexually assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein’s associate Jean-Luc Brunel.
Allegations of misconduct against the French model scout, 72, date back decades – but he has faced no action – and is now back in the headlines as attention turns to friends of the deceased billionaire sex offender.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a longtime Epstein accuser, alleged in court filings that Brunel ‘farmed out’ teenage girls to the American financier and others for sex after bringing them to the US on model visas.
She also claims she was forced to have sex with the scout numerous times in Epstein’s home, but Brunel has denied both allegations.
Several associates of Epstein’s, who died in an apparent suicide in a New York jail last week, aged 66, are facing renewed scrutiny from US investigators, according to The Guardian.
And three former models told the publication they were sexually assaulted by Brunel in and nearby Paris throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Three former models said they were sexually assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein’s associate Jean-Luc Brunel (pictured in 2008)
Brunel, his attorney, and MC2, the Miami-based model agency he founded, reportedly with backing from Epstein, did not respond to requests for comment from the newspaper.
In 2015, Brunel denied involvement ‘directly or indirectly’ in Epstein’s crimes, telling the Guardian: ‘I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work as a scouter or model agencies manager.’
MC2 also denied any connection to Epstein’s crimes and previously said Brunel no longer actively worked with the firm, despite the scout saying he still owned it in a 2015 legal case, which remains open.
Brunel firmly established himself as one of the fashion industry’s top players in the 1980s, when working as a scout at the Karin Models agency in the French capital.
He claims to have launched the careers of Jerry Hall, Angie Everhart and Christy Turlington – some of the most popular models of the era.
Famed for his lively parties, it was at one such evening in September 1991 that Thysia Huisman, then aged 18, began feeling lightheaded after being given a drink by Brunel.
The Dutch model, who was staying at Brunel’s apartment near the Karin headquarters on Avenue Hoche, was then allegedly taken to his bedroom.
‘I recall him lying on top of me, me trying to push him off,’ she said in an interview. ‘I remember trying to move, but not really being able to. Like almost being paralysed. I heard the sound of my blouse – a black blouse – ripping. I had a black skirt, too. I felt him – this is difficult – between my legs. Pushing.’
Allegations of misconduct against the French model scout, 72, date back decades – but he has faced no action – and is now back in the headlines as attention turns to friends of the deceased billionaire sex offender, Epstein (pictured in March, 2017)
The rest, Huisman said, was a blur and the next morning she woke in a kimono that didn’t belong to her, with bruises on her inner thighs.
‘I felt we had had sex,’ the now 46-year-old said. ‘I knew. I know.’
Disoriented, the model quickly gathered her belongings and fled the apartment for the train station.
Huisman didn’t report the incident to police but would eventually tell her current partner, who confirmed to the Washington Post that she explained the full story around two years ago after revealing some details six years prior.
A second former model, now 55, from America, spoke anonymously to the Guardian to allege that Brunel assaulted her outside Paris after scouting her in 1984.
She recalled being alone with the Frenchman on a night out, after he falsely told her they were going to meet other people.
She believes they drove to Fontainebleau, south-east of the capital, to a grand estate with big iron gates.
‘He got undressed, put on a toweling robe and took a shower,’ she said. ‘He kept being all over me, and I was trying to fight him off. He was grabbing my breasts and my crotch. I kept trying to talk to him and say, “Why are you doing this? I don’t want to do this.”’
The former model claims to have fled by climbing out of a window onto a ledge and staying there for the remainder of the night as Brunel slept.
She said she told her roommate about the incident and an aunt, who died in recent years. The former model didn’t tell her parents as they would have been ‘devastated’.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, (pictured), a longtime Epstein accuser, alleged in court filings that Brunel ‘farmed out’ teenage girls to the American financier and others for sex after bringing them to the US on model visas
A third model, Courtney Soerensen, from Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, headed to Paris in April 1988, aged 19.
In an interview, she alleged that Brunel subjected her to several incidents of unwanted touching, hounded her for sex and ruined her career when she rejected him.
‘He would get very handsy, start groping me, try to kiss me, try to get me to lay down on the bed just to “try it out”,’ recalled Soerensen, who now lives in California. ‘He would try to untuck my shirt, wanting to “see my abs”. He would grab my breasts and put his hand on my bottom. There was one time where he rubbed himself up against me.’
She first publicly accused Brunel more than 30 years ago, during an interview for CBS’s 60 minutes show, working on a story titled American Girls In Paris.
The broadcaster has declined to release the recording or transcript of the December 1988 story, with a spokesman for the program, Kevin Tedesco, this week saying: ‘That story is still on legal hold.’
Despite Epstein being jailed in Florida for 13 months after pleading to procuring an underage girl for prostitution, Brunel’s friendship with the sex offender survived. He visited Epstein at prison in 2008, according to court reports.
However by 2015, Brunel sued Epstein, claiming he and MC2 ‘lost multiple contacts and business in the modelling business as a result of Epstein’s illegal actions’.