A Saudi prince was arrested at a hillside compound near Beverly Hills on Wednesday after being accused of trying to force a worker to perform a sex act on him, Los Angeles police allege.
Image above: The entrance to the gated community which includes the prince's mansion
Police were called to the property within a gated community after a caretaker at the home reported a disturbance, officials said. After officers interviewed people inside, a 28-year-old man identified as Saudi prince Majed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was arrested on suspicion of forced oral copulation of an adult.
Neighbour Tennyson Collins said a resident reported seeing a bleeding woman scream for help as she tried to scale the property's 2.5-metre high wall on Wednesday afternoon.
When Mr Collins drove home from work after 1.30pm, police followed his car through the gates and on to the property, which he described as a compound. Officers escorted some 20 people out of the house, many of them staff, Mr Collins said. The website Zillow valued the 22,000-square-foot property at $US37 million ($53 million).
Police said Prince Majed was renting the home. Prince Majed was booked and freed on $USD300 000 bail on Thursday afternoon, jail records show. Police determined Prince Majed does not have immunity in this case, said LAPD Captain Tina Nieto.
Some foreign royalty do have diplomatic immunity, but it depends on the dignitary's status in his home country's government and the level of the offence, she said. Jail records show Prince Majed is scheduled to appear in court on October 19.
Mr. Collins said various foreign nationals have been renting out the property for weeks at a time over the last year but that the biggest incident up to Wednesday had just been a raucous party or two. One person who rented out the home stationed armed guards at the gates, he said.
"Obviously neighbours aren't happy about it, but it is what it is," Mr. Collins said of the international visitors. Attempts to reach the US State Department and the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Los Angeles were not successful Thursday afternoon. Prince Majed could not immediately be reached for comment.
In 2010, one prince made international headlines when he was caught on tape viciously beating his servant — and alleged male lover — to death at a five-star hotel in London. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but faces harsher punishment back home, where homosexuality is considered a crime worthy of the death penalty.
In the same year, a member of a royal entourage also received a 10 year jail sentence in New York for rape at Plaza Hotel. While the Saudis in their homeland portray themselves as pious people, their hypocrisy is exposed when they are in foreign land.