16 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 57

Teenage rats


IRougemont was going to write about the 25-yearold female teacher whom a jury judged not guilty of raping teenage boys, but then the sainted editor took the words right out of my typewriter. In his Daily Telegraph column, that is. Let's face it, Amy Gehring was no looker, but then she was no rapist either, simply because only men can rape, women cannot. Motivated by greed and coached by the tabloids, those guttersnipes committed the greatest of sins — they ratted on a fast girl, the proverbial lifesaver in the turbulent sea of a boy's adolescence.

When I was that age I would have given anything in the world to stop self-service and get laid with a woman ten years older than myself. And the uglier she was, the easier I knew it was going to be. In the nine years of boarding school, there were some encounters with nurses and secretaries, but, alas, not before 1 had turned 15.

Those ridiculous female columnists, who wailed what if those boys had been girls, were just blowing smoke. England is full of male paedophiles and dangerous sex offenders and they're worried about some pimply ruffians who knew the price of ratting, but not the value of easy sex. Fiftythree years ago, at Lawrenceville Prep, next to Princeton, the fastest townie was 'racy Gracie', a pretty little thing who once let me kiss her but told me I was too young when I touched her breasts. (I was 12.) By the time I had full town privileges, she was long gone. This is all well and good, and lotsa fun, but now I come to the serious part.

On 27 October 2001, in the Daily Telegraph magazine, Emma Soames, the editor, and Mick Brown, the writer, showed great courage in publishing the story of Philippine Lambert, daughter of Baron and Baroness Lambert, who at 20 years of age killed herself, leaving a note by her bed accusing a family friend of sexually abusing

her from the age of 12, and demanding that he should pay for it.

I have written about this case before, and it's one very close to my heart. The Lamberts have been good friends of mine since youth. Baron Lambert is the scion of a Jewish banking dynasty, related to the Rothschilds, upper class, and very, very low key. (Baron Lambert's grandfather financed King Leopold's Congolese takeover.) Philippine was probably the most hauntingly beautiful child, young girl, and teenager I'd ever seen. Her brother Henri is a beautiful young man. The tragedy of Philippine's suffering was encapsulated in her suicide note: 1 want Vincent Meyer to pay for having sexually abused me from the age 12 to 14. He kissed me everywhere — he put his sex in my mouth — he touched me everywhere. It happened in Capri, in Crete, in Geneva, in Aix-en-Provence. in Sicily ... I want him to pay 40 million Swiss francs and go to jail for the rest of his life.'

Three months after Philippine's suicide, in December 1997, Vincent Meyer was arrested and charged with involuntary homicide, harm to the sexual development of a minor, and rape. He was held in a Swiss prison for three months before being released on bail of 6 million Swiss francs (£2 million).

Vincent Meyer is extremely rich, being the grandson of Andre Meyer, the LazardFreres wizard, and is president and principal benefactor of' London's Philharmonia Orchestra. He is married to Elizabeth Stuart and has one child with her, three children from an earlier marriage, and one from another relationship.

When Meyer was arrested, all sorts of big shots from the British music world came forward attesting to his 'sensitivity, generosity and civilised nature'. I say they would, wouldn't they? What does generosity have to do with child molestation? In fact, and here I will tread very lightly because of libel, one of my daughter's closest friends had an encounter with Meyer while in Gstaad a long time ago, and although nothing happened, her mother warned me not to let my daughter near this individual. (Her daughter was at the time very under age.) Meyer walked free after an investigation lasting three years. The general prosecutor acknowledged that the evidence against him constituted 'serious charges', yet he ruled that because of a five-year statute of limitations they could not be considered. On the count of rape, he ruled the accusation not sufficiently proven. The Lamberts had dropped the involuntary homicide charge. Needless to say, the family was devastated. In my opinion, a very rich man who is guilty as hell is walking around free. But do me a favour. Look for the Telegraph magazine of 27 October 2001. Look at the pictures of the divine Philippine and read the book-length article. There are also pictures of her with Meyer. Read it and make up your own mind.