An engineer from Marseilles found his prey using the website.

In his apartment, everything was prepared. A 33 years old engineer, residing in the upperclass districts of Marseille, was indicted Friday for sexual offenses committed against foreign students he hosted for "free" at his home, according to information on the Europe 1 french information website.
The man, indicted for administering harmful substances and invasion of privacy, admitted the facts in police custody. He used the site to attract his victims. This site allows travelers to find free accommodation with families with the purpose of meeting locals. But by staying at his place, girls fell into a trap. A peephole was fitted between the wall of the bathroom and the man’s bedroom.

From his room, the suspect was filming young women in the shower. The engineer poured a few drops of hydrochloric acid on the soap, so that young guests would feel a tickling and scrub themselves. Their underwear was also impregnated.
The man also poisoned girls food with anxiolytics, and then assaulted them while they slept, but didn’t go as far as raping them. The next day they did not remember anything, and just had a dizzy feeling and heavy legs.
Olga, a 23 year old German,filled a complaint a few days ago. Thanks to her, investigators have managed to unmask the engineer. Referred Friday, he was indicted and released under court supervision.

A complaint had been filed against him three years ago. At the time, he photographed women in dressing rooms of swimming pools.

Translated from


Is that image related to the culprit's profile, or is it just an image taken from the couchsurfing website? At a first sight (and to someone who is not familiar with couchsurfing) it might seem that the engineer's profile had "424 positive references", and in spite of that there were victims, which would seem misleading as this picture is not from his profile but from the promotion pages of the couchsurfing website and thus entirely unrelated to the person in question.

Also, it would have been much if instead of "students he hosted for "free" at his home" you wrote "students he hosted at his home through the hospitality exchange website" Couchsurfing is not a tool for people like him to attain their goals, but a hospitality exchange programme, and a depiction of couchsurfing as a tool for people with evil motives to achieve their goals is misleading at least.

Cases like this DO arise form time to time, but given the fact that tens of thousands of people use couchsurfing daily, the chances that you will end up at a guy's place like this (if you are not entirely careless with choosing your host) are fewer than being hit by a car on your way to the dentist.

franck's picture

The picture is from CS advertisements.
I did not choose the words used because I translated this article from a french media website.
I posted this not to say this is happening often, but because when this kind of thing happen; there is no CS communication about it. They only do advertisements.

Sentences like "if you are not entirely careless with choosing your host" are actually part of the problem, for they help spreading the humbug about that you can make something like a "safe choice" by "using the website wisely".

That problem is such a big one because of all those CS'ers we have unfortunately attracted in recent years, who seem to use CS first and foremost to make themselves look better or holier than the rest - and one of their favorite ways to do that is to preach wisdoms to all others. Since they are apparently often not the smartest (or maybe just too brainlazy to think thru themselves what they post?) they mainly rely on the "wisdoms" they already got preached by others and which they then mindlessly parrot.

The idea that anyone can increase anybody's safety by using the features on the site (reading profiles incl. the references and minding the number of vouches etc.) is such a widespread yet no the less hollow nonsense.
Do the guys who preach and believe this bunk really think that it would have said on this guy's profile's self-description something like "I'm open-minded {that's a must for EACH CS profile...}, funny and a jolly peeping-tom" - or perhaps under "Interests": "Travelling {another must for EACH CS profile...}, movies and getting my female CS'ers knocked out on drugs I put in their food so I can touch them indecently!"??? And what references do the believe to find on the guy's profile when his victims can never remember a thing the next day.

Not to mention that the moment he would get a neg ref speaking about this he'd surely delete his profile (or get it deleted by the CS powers) and then would simply create a new one. It really doesn't take more than 2-4 weeks max to create yourself a CS profile that will ensure you will be chosen by those who believed all the CS bigots' preachings (and even the "official CS safety tips"!) about how to make a "safe choice"!

The only way to actually be safe is to act safe in the real life. In other words: not allowing anyone the opportunity to rob/rape/... you is the only safe way to not getting robbed/raped/...

And while none of that hardly ever really matters, simply because the vast majority of CS'ers is (at least) nice enough to not rob or rape you - regardless whether or not you made a "safe choice" or whether their profiles "show" that they are safe or not - spreading this guff can actually make you unsafer when they give you the false impression that you are safe and therefore you lower your defenses.
Why would the girls who stayed with the guy be worried about having a dizzy feeling and heavy legs in the morning or why would they even consider that there might be a peeping hole in the bathroom's wall - after all they "knew" they were safe 'cause they had read the guy's profile and found no neg refs there warning them about any of this?!?

Maat et joot! / Take care!

the cs rapist in UK had also a lot of good references... references are supposed to act as safety measure in cs, supposingly

What are you basing that statement that the man found guilty of rape in the UK had lots of good references?? Did you look at his profile?

From my knowledge, the man found guilty of rape was a first time host on CS, and had no references at all.

This network is very unsafe, rapes dont happen daily in there but if you read safe groups in cs itself, they are filled with awkward stories and the people coming scared out of them. In most cases, the people trusted their host or guest because of the references on the profiles, and as said above, some rapes that happened happened by hosts with many good references.

I urge people to use their head and never use this network alone, in fact even in groups of travellers shit have happened. Of course the CS network belongs to a Tourism Business and they don't care, their goal is more members, and that cannot be attained if they create too many rules for safety. It's funny that on their advertisements SAFETY plays a big star role... This is almost criminal actually, it leads new victims into the lure of creeps in cs of whom many do have many positive references till one day the same person rape someone or assault him or her anyhow.

I recently came out about my own victimization in the hands of a man I met through Couchsurfing, as well as several other Couchsurfing predators I had encountered. Couchsurfing was threatened by my article creating bad publicity and they are trying to silence me. They have blatantly lied in trying to sweep this under the rug. (Screen shots included) Read more