French fugitive sex offender Gilbert Greaux who went on the run after being convicted of raping women at chateau during ‘hypnosis ceremonies’ is arrested in FLORIDA where he’d retired with his wife and son
- Gilbert Greaux was convicted of sexually assaulting 14 women and rape of three
- He fled to the US in 2015 after obtaining an ESTA, and made plans to retire
- His son told DailyMail.com his father was innocent and was not fleeing cops
A French fugitive has been arrested in Florida after being convicted of sexually assaulting 17 women at his chateau during hypnosis ceremonies.
Gilbert Greaux, 77, owned the Château de Valloubière in southwest France for several years, and is accused of assaulting 17 female guests during their stay there.
The retired winemaker was convicted of the crimes in absentia in 2018 but by then he’d been living secretly in Orlando, Florida, for four years with his wife and adult son.
This week, sheriffs in St Lucie arrested Greux at the request of INTERPOL. Now, he will be extradited to France to serve time for the sexual crimes.
Prosecutors at his French trial said he abused the women by offering to ‘open up their chakras’ with ‘energy sessions’ and ‘magnetism massages’.
He would ply the women with wine produced at the chateau before the attacks, with several victims saying they felt ‘hypnotized’ or ‘too heavy’ to fight him off – adding they were in a ‘dreamlike state’.
Greux has always protested his innocence. His adult son Nicholas, 52, told DailyMail.com on Friday he has been falsely accused.
Gilbert Greaux, 77, owned the Château de Valloubière in southwestern France for several years, and is accused of assaulting 17 female guests during their stay
The retired winemaker was convicted of the crimes in 2018 – which took place at the château (pictured) , in his absence, after he moved to Orlando, Florida, with his wife and son in 2015
Multiple women have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the assaults, according to court documents, with one telling cops that she felt ‘disgusted’ by what he was doing to her.
Court documents seen by DailyMail.com show that a probe was launched into his offending in 2015, after one woman contacted the police following a stay at the winery.
Greaux was ordered not to leave France by authorities, but managed to travel to the US on an ESTA visa, which was then switched out to a B1 on his arrival to Florida.
He was convicted of 14 counts of sexual assault and three counts of rape in his absence and handed 13 years in prison.
The former real estate agent was arrested by St. Lucie County detectives assigned to the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force on September 25 after a notice from Interpol was issued.
Prosecutors claim that Greaux fled the country in a bid to avoid his prison term, with his son Nicolas describing the arrest as a shock.
His son insists that his father was not on the run from French police, saying that they had a property in Florida since 2000.
Nicolas, 52, told DailyMail.com that the family had moved to pursue the ‘American Dream’, and his parents wanted to retire in the Sunshine State.
Court documents seen by DailyMail.com show that a probe was launched into his offending in 2015, after one woman contacted the police following a stay at the winery
The family has been living in a 2,500 square-foot home near Orlando that listed for sale in May for almost $800,000
The family insist that they would not defend Greaux if they thought he was guilty, saying someone who would commit sex crimes is ‘sick’ – adding that his father has never been accused of any crimes in the US.
‘He didn’t run away from France,’ he said. ‘We never hid the address, or the telephone number or anything, we had a visa. So for me it doesn’t make sense.
‘When they came to take him away, he was with my mother in the house, eh was not hiding somewhere. We have lived here for nine years, and nothing has ever happened.’
Nicolas claims that the allegations in France stem from ‘jealousy’ over the winery, saying when you have money ‘it is a big problem’.
He also questioned why none of his fathers’ alleged victims came forward until they were contacted by police.
‘They were sleeping at the winery after they claim they were raped or aggressively sexually abused, but why stay?’ he questioned. ‘Why stay and the next day have breakfast and not call the police?’
The family has been living in a 2,500 square-foot home near Orlando that listed for sale in May for almost $800,000.
Greaux was reporting to French authorities once every two weeks following his move in 2015, with his son claiming that he only stopped because of ill health after a heart attack.
An email from a doctor in June 2016 states that Greaux had suffered a stroke and so was ‘not medically cleared to travel’, according to the court filings.
It is unclear why his visa was granted with the plethora of allegations made against him, with his son claiming that there were no issued with their immigration status until recently.
‘He had colon cancer in 2008, which left him unable to sexually perform,’ Nicolas added. ‘How can you be accused of rape if you cannot have sex?’
Greaux obtained a Florida drivers’ licence after traveling to the US on an ESTA in 2015 with his wife and son
Prosecutors claim that he offered to ‘open up their chakras’ with and ‘energy session’ or ‘magnetism massage’, but then assaulted them under the guise of the legitimate therapeutic treatment
An email from a doctor in June 2016 states that Greaux had suffered a stroke and so was ‘not medically cleared to travel’, according to the court filings
Court documents confirmed that Greaux was impotent following the surgery for colon cancer, with psychiatrists deeming him to be legally sane, although his ‘sexual identity [was] undeveloped.’
Greaux was first probed by French authorities in October 2013 after a woman, 30, lodged complaint with cops in Montpellier.
The woman was staying at Château de Valloubière with two friends to celebrate one of their birthdays after spotting a deal on Groupon, court filings say.
All three check in with Greaux and were invited to dinner in the main house, where he performed a hypnosis demonstration.
While there was dancing in the dining room Greaux invited the victim to continue the hypnosis session in a small room with a massage table.
She told investigators that her ‘body had dissociated from her mind,’ and accused Greaux of removing her clothing and penetrating her with his fingers.
Court documents alleged that he only stopped when his wife knocked on the door, allowing her to leave the room.
Her friend found her ‘speechless’ and then watched her burst into tears as she explained the incident, before they went to the police.
Authorities then contacted 1,416 people who stayed at Château de Valloubière between the beginning of 2014 and April 2015.
Nicolas claims that the allegations in France stem from ‘jealousy’ over the winery, saying when you have money ‘it is a big problem’
One woman was staying at Château de Valloubière with two friends to celebrate one of their birthdays after spotting a deal on Groupon, court filings say
Another guest claimed that she and her friend were assaulted by Greaux, who told them he had ‘golden hands’ and was working on them top ‘free the aura’ [from] the chakra root located in the pubis,’ according to court documents.
One woman who stayed at the winery with her husband for her 10th wedding anniversary and was offered the magnetism massage after complaining about endometriosis.
Greaux allegedly assaulted her during the session, while another woman claims that he put his hands on her genitals and made ‘very violent’ movements on her genitals.
The latter told him she was going to report the incident to the police, before his wife contacted her saying a complaint would destroy the family.
In court his victims broke down in tears and they explained the effect of the assaults on them, with many suffering from PTSD.
He was also convicted of sexual assault in Guadeloupe in 2004 and handed a two-year suspended sentence alongside two of probation.
Greaux moved to St Barths in 1990 and returned to France in 2006 following another conviction for sexual assault after his wife said that locals ‘attitudes changed’ towards him.
He reportedly took out a million-euro loan to buy the château and Josette asked her husband to stop performing these ‘magnetism sessions,’ to which he agreed, they say.
Nicolas again defended his father, saying that it was a ‘similar allegation’, to the ones in 2013, where his father used magnets to ‘treat’ people.
‘They never talk about how many people he helped, with skin conditions and other things,’ Nicolas said. ‘He was helping a lot of people with a lot of problems.’
In an interview Greaux claimed that he didn’t ‘physically touch’ one victim, and claimed she had a ‘nightmare’ during a chakra session. He said he ‘only put his hands over her chakra points.’
One woman who stayed at the winery with her husband for her 10th wedding anniversary and was offered the magnetism massage after complaining about endometriosis
He was also convicted of sexual assault in Guadeloupe in 2004 and handed a two-year suspended sentence alongside two of probation
Sheriff Ken Mascara of St Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said: ‘We in the criminal justice system know that criminals don’t avoid jurisdictional lines. Matter of fact, they relish the opportunity to victimize wherever they can.
‘In this case, 77-year-old Gilbert Eugene Greaux fled France and evaded punishment of a 13-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault to relocate to sunny Port St. Lucie.
‘After being notified by INTERPOL of a federal arrest warrant, St. Lucie County detectives assigned to the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force were more than eager to arrest him.’
After his arrest, Greaux was detained as a ‘serious risk of flight and danger to the community,’ and is scheduled to be back in court on Friday.
The hearing will hear arguments on if he should remain in custody prior to a status conference on October 31 regarding his extradition.
Greaux will be entitled to a new trial in France, unless he waives this right and accepts the 13-year sentence previously handed down, the extradition documents state.
His family have confirmed that he will be fighting the prison term, and declined to comment further until the legal proceedings have moved to France.
During an appearance in a Florida federal court, he was determined to be indigent and assigned a public defender to represent him.
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