President of wine co-op indicted for rape
27th June, 2014 by Lauren Eads
The former president of French wine co-operative Les Vignobles Foncalieu, Michel Bataille, has resigned following allegations of rape and sexual harassment by a number of employees.
According to reports in several French newspapers, Bataille resigned after being indicted on Tuesday for rape and sexual harassment alleged to have taken place between 2009 and the end of 2013, charges confirmed by the prosecutor of Carcassonne, Vincent Auger.
It is understood Bataille has been released and is currently under judicial supervision.
On Thursday Foncalieu confirmed Bataille’s replacement as Michel Servage – a founding member of the wine co-operative.
In a statement confirming its new president, Les Vignobles Foncalieu said: “On Thursday morning, Michel Servage was unanimously elected President of Les Vignobles Foncalieu by the company Board of Directors.
“It was a natural choice in the light of his widely-recognised commitment to vine and winegrowing and his familiarity with decision makers and the market not only locally, but also nationally and on export markets. Michel Servage was one of the founder members of Foncalieu in 1992 and was serving at the time as Vice-President of the Cooperative Winery in Puichéric, where his estate is located. Another sign of his expertise is his position as Chairman of the French Confederation of Vins de Pays.”
Les Vignobles Foncalieu is based in Arzens in the Languedoc and counts 1,200 wineries among its members.
It is understood Bataille will next appear in court on 24 September.