AN American tourist was raped by a stranger in a public toilet next to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, prosecutors say.
The woman's partner went looking for her and found her sobbing as she was being attacked in a cubicle.
She fled as members of the public cornered the alleged rapist until cops arrived, sources say.
A homeless man aged 23, originally from North Africa, was charged with rape after the early hours horror last Sunday.
He is alleged to have approached the victim, 27, in a public toilet near the Louis-Philippe bridge, opposite the cathedral.
An investigating source said: "The American woman was walking along the bank of the Seine at the end of a Saturday night out with her partner, when she entered the toilet block.
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"It is well lit, and there were plenty of people around, but the woman’s partner became concerned when she remained inside for a long time."
When he entered the toilets, he heard the woman crying, and then realised she was being attacked in a cubicle, the source said.
The victim managed to free herself, and then her partner and other women in the toilet managed to trap the alleged rapist in a cubicle.
Police then arrived and managed to arrest the man.
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Following questioning he was charged with rape.
He denied any wrongdoing, saying he had a "consensual arrangement with the woman", but was remanded in custody.
The woman was taken to the Pitie-Salpetrière hospital in eastern Paris, where she was treated for injuries.
She has since returned to the USA with her partner, but is keeping in touch with French police and prosecutors.
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The area where the attack happened is usually packed with tourists, and includes Paris Plage – the urban "beach" full of holiday attractions.
However there are frequent complaints about lawlessness, especially about aggressive youths threatening passers-by.
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