Man, 68, faces rape charges after posing as model for 'Fifty Shades of Grey' dates
A 68-year-old Frenchman is facing rape charges after accusations emerged that he had "tricked" women into sex by posing as a young, handsome male model.
"Anthony Laroche", who claimed to be a 37-year-old model, approached 40-year-old Sylvie* on free dating website Zoosk, Le Parisien reported.
He allegedly suggested they "spice up" their first meeting with a "game like Fifty Shades of Grey" by having sex in the dark, using a blindfold.
When Sylvie took off the blindfold after sex she said found herself in bed with a man "of around 65 with glasses, balding and wrinkly".
"He didn’t respond to the photo at all," Sylvie has been quoted as saying in Le Parisien. "I felt total disgust."
Another woman came forward with a similar story, claiming she had insisted on removing her blindfold to find a man completely different to the one she had been attracted to on Zoosk.
Police arrested Michel*, the pensioner behind the false profile, on 17 March, where he was placed under formal investigation for "rape by surprise".
Searching his home detectives found notebooks, hard drives and computers filled with explicit images of "previous conquests": over 200 women aged from 25 to around 50-years-old.
Police investigations have revealed that two similar cases against Michel were made in 2009 and 2013, but were closed.
It is believed that Michel could have had been using the strategy of luring women with a false profile since at least 2009, and was in contact with 342 women around France including 143 in his own region.
Investigators are now looking into whether there may have been other victims.
Michel reportedly claimed to finding a photo of a male model on Google as "a way of maintaining my anonymity".
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."
Names have been changed*
Independent News Service