French LSU student accused of rape flees US; ordered to pay $700K to Louisiana woman

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A former French LSU graduate student who left the country is expected to pay over $700,000 to the family after being accused of raping a student.

A Lafayette woman and her family filed a federal lawsuit in federal court Court seeking monetary damages for her and her parents and a restraining order against Edouard d’Espalungue d’Arros.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge David C. Joseph ordered that d’Espalungue pay $606,204.64 to the victim and $50,000 each to her parents, totaling $706,204.64.

According to court documents, on Sept. 30, 2018, d’Espalungue was accused of sexual battery during a church retreat in Rapides Parish. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested him the same night.

After being booked, d’Espalungue posted bail for $25,000 and returned to Baton Rouge, according to a review of the facts and laws considered in the case. After further investigation, d’Espalungue was arrested in Baton Rouge by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 4, 2018, on charges of second-degree rape. He posted another $75,000 bond, surrendered his passport and returned to Baton Rouge.

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He’d received permission from the state court to get his passport and fly home for the holidays. On Dec. 14, 2020, d’Espalungue left the country and never returned to the United States. The judge noted that France doesn’t extradite citizens, but the state issued a no-bond arrest warrant that’s still active. There’s a request for Interpol to arrest him if he leaves France.

On Feb. 22, 2021, the victim anonymously filed the federal suit.

The victim’s legal team reportedly attempted to serve d’Espalungue with the lawsuit on multiple occasions through the proper channels, but he did not come to the station to be served, despite police scheduling three meetings.

The case outlined the details of the alleged rape and the woman’s struggles afterward, including PTSD, depression and anxiety. A forensic accountant provided details of her estimated future wage losses and medical expenses.

D’Espalungue is also accused of sexually assaulting and harassing at least six other LSU students.

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