A Quebec judge is taking heat for saying that an “overweight” 17-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted enjoyed the attention she received from her 49-year-old attacker.
According to the victim, in 2015, taxi driver Carlo Figaro stopped the vehicle before they got to her home and licked her face. He also groped her breasts and genitals over her clothing despite her trying to stop him.
Judge Jean-Paul Braun did find the defendant guilty of sexual assault back in May but not before he made some questionable comments.
Braun said the victim was “a bit overweight, but she has a pretty face.” He went on to challenge prosecutor Amelie Rivard over whether there are different degrees of consent for different behaviors. For example, he wondered if there was a difference between kissing someone compared to grabbing their butt.
Rivard said she hadn’t come across that distinction in the jurisprudence.
The judge wasn’t done. He also said that perhaps the teen, who was religious, enjoyed the attention from an older, handsome Figaro who had “nice manners,” “liked to wear cologne,” and “look good and doesn’t seem his age.” He went on to suggest that the victim flirted with the perpetrator.
Rivard said that even if that was true, it would not equal consent but the judge did not think she had made it clear she did not want to be kissed. However, the actions that followed did cause him to convict the man.
Braun said he found it unlikely the man had not noticed the girl before due to the fact that he frequented the café where she worked. He said, “taking into consideration the [teen’s] figure, which is quite voluptuous; the court specifies that she is a pretty young girl.”
The verdict is now being appealed and Figaro has not yet been sentenced.
Quebec’s Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée says she will be filing a formal complaint over the judge’s comments with the province’s magistrates council.