As the #DoublePeine movement has recently shown, rape and sexual assault complaints rarely make it to court. However, from this Monday, the trial of the bar manager opens in a Parisian jury. Until Friday, the 41-year-old man will have to answer for four rapes and two sexual harassment. He vigorously disputes the allegations, says his lawyer Me Pierre-Louis Ruyet.
The case begins May 28, 2017. A young woman, a waitress at one of the nightclubs run by the defendants, arrives with a report of a rape committed hours earlier. She explains to the police that she was celebrating a friend’s birthday at the bar where she works for Fabio and drank large amounts of alcohol without eating.
She remembers how she ended up in the courtyard behind the establishment with her boss, that he led her into his office, put her on the sofa bed. According to her, she wakes up when he penetrates her. After filing a complaint, she reveals that another waitress has just quit her job following the “incident” with “Fabio”.
In turn, listened to, the latter denounces the sexual assault two months earlier in the same bar. She claims that the defendant took her aside and forcibly kissed her, trying to get his hand under her skirt, while she was using alcohol and cocaine.
The victims are chained
Upon learning of the investigation, a third young woman asks to be heard. She condemns the attack 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 establishment’s elevator and began to touch her breasts and buttocks, before forcibly kissing and shoving his hand into his pants, despite repeated opposition from the young woman. .
She went home with her mouth swollen, refusing to tell her boyfriend what happened. A few months later, she will reveal that she was a victim of digital penetration, specifying that until then she did not mention it out of shame. Then the facts are reclassified as rape.
During the investigation, witnesses portray the manager as a “sexual predator” who routinely offers cocaine and ecstasy to his young waitresses or customers in the bar’s kitchen so that they are no longer “able to resist him.” Other employees note the respondent’s “heavy behavior” towards women, but say they have never seen forced kissing or touching.
Faced with his accusers, the accused maintains his denials, arguing that this is a possible “agreement” between the applicants. He was charged in July 2017 and spent about twenty days in pre-trial detention before being placed under judicial supervision.
“Total denial”, “shame” and “guilt”
Heared as a witness in March 2018, a fourth young woman condemned two sexual assaults months apart, the first of which occurred around May 2016. She explained that she feared that “her word would not be heard” sooner.
Two other facts were exposed during the judicial investigation. A man is accused of raping another woman in July 2018 at his home in Vara while he was under court supervision. This woman immediately filed a complaint. She said that during her stay with two friends, he penetrated her while she was sleeping, before stopping when she pushed him away.
This complaint sparked a sixth, a year later, when he was re-imprisoned. One of her longtime friends, also present in Var in the summer of 2018, meant that she herself was a victim of rape in early 2017 in Paris. She explained that she was in a state of “complete denial”, experienced “shame” and “guilt” and had difficulty speaking due to the influence of someone she considered her confidant.
“In this case, we have a cumulative effect that can be impressive, but in each of the versions, taken separately, we do not have an essential element for most, if not all, civilian parties. (…) The accumulation of allegations is not worth proof,” says Me Ruye.