Jean-Paul Braun, a judge in Quebec, Canada, is under fire from local officials there, as well as on social media, for comments he made from the bench about the appearance of a teenage sexual assault victim, calling the 17-year-old “overweight” and speculating that she was “flattered” by the “interest” that her attacker showed in her, according to a CBC News report on Wednesday.
The comments by Braun were publicly reported only this week, though he made the remarks during the trial in May of 49-year-old Carlo Figaro, a taxi driver who was convicted in that trial of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl who was a passenger his cab. Figaro’s lawyers are appealing his conviction.
The judge also described the teen girl as a fleur bleue, or “blue flower,” an expression meaning that the girl was naively sentimental or romantic, going on to state that the victim, as a result, may have been “flattered” by the “interest” that her assaulter showed in her sexually, according to a Globe and Mail newspaper report.
Braun also noted Figaro’s “nice manners” and the convicted assaulter’s fondness for wearing Versace brand cologne.
According to the judgment against him in May, Figaro pulled his cab over not far from the victim’s destination, the teen girl’s home. He then forcibly licked her face and tried to kiss her. When she attempted to push him away and get out of the cab, he groped her genital area and grabbed her breasts, also unbuttoning the victim’s blouse.
Judge Jean-Paul Braun, folks. This guy right here. pic.twitter.com/v2W4UfLOsu
— Miss Febb (@MoonsSunsStars) October 27, 2017
“It can be said that she is a little overweight, but she has a pretty face,” the judge said, according to a report in the Montreal Journal newspaper.
The judge added that the teen was “a little flattered,” because “it is perhaps the first time that (a man) is interested in her.”
Braun also called Figaro’s attempt to plant an unwanted kiss on the victim “an acceptable gesture,” because, the judge said, a kiss requires a lower “degree” of consent than required for a man to grope a woman’s body parts.
In his remarks, Braun appeared to be speculating that the victim was, in fact, attracted to her attacker due to her sheltered upbringing and the fact that Figaro “looks good and doesn’t seem his age.”
“He has nice manners and he likes to wear cologne: Versace when he goes out, and other less-expensive colognes during the week,” the judge noted.
He said he did not believe Figaro’s claims that he had never noticed the victim before, despite regular stops at the coffee shop where she worked, because the girl has a “quite voluptuous” figure.
“The court specifies that she is a pretty young girl,” the judge remarked in the trial.
"She's a young girl, 17. Maybe she's a little overweight but she has a pretty face, no?" https://t.co/0Il5UeKPgI
— Les Perreaux (@perreaux) October 25, 2017
Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée called the judge’s comments “unacceptable” and said that Quebec’s judicial council would investigate Braun’s conduct in the case. Paul-Matthieu Grondin, head of the Quebec Bar Association, also denounced the judge’s remarks as “deplorable,” as outrage against Braun quickly spread this week to social media.
We can all agree Quebec judge Jean-Paul Braun should be removed from his position…right? https://t.co/moT5bWHUfQ
— Theresa (@TlAsselin) October 27, 2017
Well past time for this judge to lose his job. Victim was 17, attacker was a 49 year old cab driver. Judge Jean-Paul Braun of Quebec. https://t.co/ba1D7sOlHM
— Kathy Boulet (@KathyBoulet) October 27, 2017
The Judge's name is Judge Jean-Paul Braun of Quebec, Canada and I'd like to have a long chat with him….after I roundhouse him.
— Tight Moccasins (@TightMoccasins) October 27, 2017
Braun has come under fire for similar comments from the bench in the past. In a 2013 case involving a telephone technician who grabbed a 19-year-old woman’s breasts after verbally harassing her, Braun scoffed that the attack was “not the crime of the century.”
[Featured Image by Sebastian Duda/Shutterstock]