It is very rare for complaints of rape and sexual assault to reach a trial, as the #DoublePeine movement has recently shown.

From this Monday, however, the trial of a bar manager opens before the Paris Assize Court.

Until Friday, the 41-year-old man will have to answer for four rapes and two sexual assaults.

He strongly disputes the charges, says his lawyer, Me Pierre-Louis Rouyer.

The case begins on May 28, 2017. A young woman, a waitress in one of the night establishments managed by the accused, comes to denounce a rape suffered a few hours earlier.

To the police, she explains that she celebrated a friend's birthday in the bar where she works for "Fabio" and drank large quantities of alcohol without having eaten.

She remembers finding herself in the courtyard behind the establishment with her boss, that he led her to his office, laid her on a sofa bed.

According to her statements, she wakes up while he is penetrating her.

By filing a complaint, she reports that another waitress has just left her job after an "incident" with "Fabio".

Heard in turn, the latter denounces a sexual assault two months earlier, in the same bar.

She claims that the accused pulled her aside and forcibly kissed her while trying to slip a hand under her skirt, while she had consumed alcohol and cocaine.

The victims are chained

Informed of the investigation, a third young woman asks to be heard.

She denounces an assault more than a year earlier, in February 2016, still in the same cafe.

She says that after an alcoholic evening, the man pinned her against the wall of the elevator of the establishment and began to touch her breasts and buttocks, before kissing her by force and slipping his hand in his pants, despite repeated opposition from the young woman.

She had gone home with a swollen mouth, refusing to tell her boyfriend what had happened.

Several months later, she will reveal to have been the victim of a digital penetration, specifying not to have mentioned it until then out of shame.

The facts are then reclassified as rape.

A first examination

During the investigation, witnesses portray the manager as a "sexual predator", regularly offering cocaine and ecstasy to his young waitresses or customers in the bar kitchen so that they are no longer "able to resist him".

Other employees note the "heavy behavior" of the respondent towards women, but say they have never seen forced kisses or touching.

Confronted with his accusers, the accused maintains his denials, arguing of a possible "agreement" between the complainants.

He was indicted in July 2017 and spent around twenty days in pre-trial detention before being placed under judicial supervision.

“Total denial”, “shame” and “guilt”

Heard as a witness in March 2018, a fourth young woman denounced two sexual assaults a few months apart, the first dating from approximately May 2016. She explained that she feared that before "her word would not be heard".

Two other facts were denounced during the judicial investigation.

The man is accused of having raped another woman in July 2018, in his house in Var, while he was under judicial supervision.

This woman immediately filed a complaint.

She said that during a stay with two friends, he had penetrated her while she was sleeping, before stopping when she pushed him away.

This complaint triggered a sixth, a year later, when he was reincarcerated.

One of her longtime friends, also present in the Var in the summer of 2018, meant that she herself had been the victim of a rape in early 2017 in Paris.

She explained that she was in "total denial", experiencing "shame" and "guilt", and having had difficulty speaking because of the influence of the one she considered her confidant.

“In this file, we have a cumulative effect which may be impressive, but in each of the versions taken separately we have no material element for most, if not all, of the civil parties.

(…) The accumulation of statements is not worth proof”, considers Me Rouyer.

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  • Aggression

  • assize court

  • Justice

  • Rape

  • sexual assault

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