A man suspected of being the “scooter rapist” wanted in Grenoble was indicted and placed in pre-trial detention. The individual admitted to one of the seven charges against him, but is still presumed innocent.

First confessions. The day after his indictment, the man suspected of being the “scooter rapist” reported by several women made statements to investigators. He admitted to “a single act of rape […] for which he is confused by his DNA” said the Grenoble public prosecutor, Eric Vaillant, this Monday April 8 during a press conference.

The 22-year-old suspect, however, made no confession regarding the other cases for which he is suspected. As a reminder, the judicial investigation into the scooter rapist case was opened on March 29 by the public prosecutor’s office regarding seven facts: two rapes, an attempted rape, a sexual assault, an attempted extortion and two acts of violence committed between February 8 and March 16. After the filing of a new complaint by a woman believing she was the victim of the scooter rapist during an attack on the night of December 16 to 17, 2023, an eighth case could be added to this long list. While other testimonies appeared in the press, the magistrate said he expected “at least two or three complaints likely to arrive” and assured that all “will be treated with attention and diligence” whether they are not linked to the scooter rapist case.

The young man living in Fontaine, in Isère, was arrested on April 5. He was indicted and placed in pre-trial detention after his appearance before an investigating judge on Sunday April 7. If the suspect has only admitted one fact among the seven with which he is accused, “the investigation continues to find out whether or not we can actually accuse him of all the facts” assured the prosecutor. According to the magistrate, the man faces 15 years in prison if he is found guilty and 20 years if the “serial nature” of the rapes is recognized, but at this stage the suspect still benefits from the presumption of innocence.

While the investigation began on March 29, the suspect was able to be identified thanks to a DNA analysis carried out urgently by the Lyon national police laboratory. These DNA traces were found in a rape case, but the genetic profile did not appear in the national automated genetic fingerprint file (FNAEG). The suspect was, however, able to be found thanks to the genetic robot portrait and parental research which made it possible to reduce the number of potential suspects and to guide investigators.

In addition to using genetic data, the police officers in charge of the case carried out extensive cross-checking and investigation work to arrest the suspect. The man described as acting alone on a scooter, always dressed in black and with his face partially concealed, it was difficult for investigators to trust the composite portrait established thanks to the victims’ testimonies. A report, specified by the prosecutor Éric Vaillant, had also been widely relayed on social networks: the document gave the description of a “20-year-old man, European type, without accent, approximately 1.70 m tall and of heavy build normal, even slightly plump, brown eyes, pale complexion and rather red hair. The investigations therefore focused on cross-referencing the complainants’ testimonies, but also the use of video surveillance cameras, telephone monitoring carried out at the times and locations of the attacks, and the brand of the scooter used by the attacker.

The public prosecutor refused to further specify the profile of the suspect despite the leak of information to the press. He neither affirmed nor denied certain hypotheses raised such as that which questions the suspect’s consumption of alcohol or drugs. The magistrate simply indicated that the man was a rather well-integrated person, “which will justify psychological and psychiatric expertise” to better discern his profile. The suspect had already been questioned for an offense when he was a minor, but had not been indicted and therefore had not been recorded in the police files.