Orthez: Driving school instructor convicted of sexual harassment and sexist insults

This Thursday, a 69-year-old driving school instructor from Orthez is on trial for sexual harassment of an employee and sexist insults against a student.

The editors advise you

This Thursday, a 69-year-old driving school instructor from Orthez is on trial for sexual harassment of an employee and sexist insults against a student.

The editors advise you

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The first complaint, that of the employee, was initially dismissed for lack of evidence. But the complaint from the mother of a 15-year-old girl, exposing the sexist behavior of her monitor, re-ignited the first case.

The small driving school is a company with a family atmosphere. But the boss will have two years of exchanges with his employee of about thirty, which clearly exceed the limits. Text messages, often accompanied by “smileys”, in which he strongly insists on seeing her come to work in a skirt. Comments like: “You dressed like a girl today”.

Tells him he didn’t mean any harm. “I could have told my daughter without thinking about it. “President Myriam Dasté reformulates it. “It may not be very delicate for your daughter, but for your employee, does it seem normal to you? »

“It made me so mad”

“These are things that are no longer being said, the monitor agrees. I thought we’d gotten close enough to allow me to joke like this. “His lawyer, I Stéphanie Moutet-Fortis, will summarize the image of the professional in the Orthézienne place: “He is heavy, he is fat, but he is not bad”.

The messages still talk about “blows in the ass who get lost” or the “blonde” with this regret expressed by the employer who will lose his employee. “I would have made myself blond. »

The young woman, who is a civil party during the hearing, testifies to her trauma. “However, I cropped it several times. I loved my job and I was so disgusted by it that I couldn’t stand it anymore.” She says that last May, almost a year and a half after her complaint, she was finally able to drive again in a driving school “With fixed-term contracts,” she explains, to see if I can keep it up.”

“skirt and tight top”

The second complaint will come in early 2021. It concerns a 15-year-old teenager who reported to her parents inappropriate exchanges with her driving instructor who insisted that she dress “in a skirt and a tight top”. Explains to her that it is because she “didn’t have confidence in herself” that he advised her to “dress like the others”. “I did it in a fatherly way,” assures the defendant.

The president resists these four photos he took of his student and asks him to pull up her skirt. ‘You see you don’t have big thighs. His defense is clumsy. “I thought they were erased.” His lawyer indicates that he did not have the will to keep these photos. “It was just so she could see herself. There was no gritty or unhealthy intent. »

Accompanied by her mother, the former student also testifies to the consequences of such facts. “I don’t think you’re helping a 15-year-old girl build herself up, if you’re a man that age, by asking her to wear a skirt and a tight top. »

“To me it’s perverse!” »

The suspect appears to have a late and timid understanding of the facts. “Society has completely changed. That’s not how I saw it at the time. Maybe I’m not on base. »

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Prosecutor Richard Pineau insists. “When I hear you, although society is of course changing, I wonder what year you stopped. But the blows on the butt, these are methods that were not more acceptable in the 70s or 80s. I pass on your obsession with the skirt, but this young woman, your employee, you traumatized her deeply. This is not a joke, this is sexual harassment. »

He also makes no concessions to the sexist outrage inflicted on a 15-year-old girl. “Taking a picture of a young girl’s thighs, to me it’s perverse! »

“In my head I have never said to myself: it hurts,” replies the sixty-year-old. “He never thinks of evil, supports Me Moutet-Fortis. He was not aware of this intolerable humor today. It has remained so 20th century that it is a bit scary. »

The court went further than the claims: 10 months in prison with probation including the obligation to compensate the victims (3000 € compensation for the former employee, almost 2000 for the student). And above all, a ban on engaging in the activity of driving instructor in contact with minors.

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