Judge Said Sex Assault Complainant Was ‘Overweight’ and Probably ‘Flattered’ by Attention

She was 17. Her assailant is a 49-year-old cab driver.

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Oct 26 2017, 4:15pm

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A Quebec judge will be subject to an official complaint over comments he made during a sexual assault trial suggesting the teenage complainant was "flattered" by the accuser's attention.

Cab driver Carlo Figaro, 49, was accused of forcibly kissing and licking the face of a 17-year-old girl who was his passenger and touching her breasts and genitals over her clothes. Figaro was found guilty in May and has not yet been sentenced. He is appealing the conviction.

According to Le Journal de Montreal, during the trial Judge Jean-Paul Braun remarked, "It can be said that she is a little overweight, but she has a pretty face huh?" He also suggested the victim may have been "flattered" because "it is perhaps the first time that he is interested in her." He described the non-consensual kiss as an "acceptable gesture."

The CBC reports that Braun also debated "degrees of consent" with the Crown prosecutor, noting that getting consent for a kiss is different than getting consent to touch someone's behind. He said Figaro's good looks combined with the complainant's sheltered upbringing could explain why she may have liked the attention. He even went into detail about how Figaro doesn't look his age and "likes to wear cologne."

Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee has said she will file a complaint against Braun with Quebec's judicial council.

Other politicians have also condemned the remarks.

Manon Masse of Quebec Solidaire said this is another example of rape culture and "a person in a position of authority making inappropriate remarks toward women," according to the Canadian Press.

Earlier this year, Federal Court Justice Robin Camp resigned after the Canadian Judicial Council ruled that he was unfit to sit on the bench after he told a rape complainant she should have kept her "knees together."

In April, the judge sentencing Queen's University student Chance Macdonald, who was convicted of assaulting a teenage girl, postponed the sentence to avoid interfering with Macdonald's internship. After VICE published a story, Macdonald was fired from Deloitte.

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.

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