Teaching luminary Thierry Karsenti was found guilty of sexually touching a minor on Wednesday. The man entered the bedroom of an 11-year-old boy a dozen times in 2015 and slipped his hand into his underwear.
“Mr. Karsenti, I don’t believe your denials. I do not retain them and they do not raise a reasonable doubt, ”said Judge Ann-Marie Beauchemin, at the Longueuil courthouse.
“The Complainant is a credible young man and his allegations are credible and I accept them as true,” she continued.
During the trial held in March, the victim, now 18, said that Thierry Karsenti snuck into his room, asked him to lie on his stomach and stroked his buttocks, about ten of times. The 46-year-old then slipped his hand down his pants to caress his genitals.
“I didn’t do it”, repeated Thierry Karsenti many times during his testimony. His lawyer, Mr.e Clara Daviault, also tried to raise inconsistencies in the testimony of the young man.
“It is true that his testimony is not free from gaps and contradictions, I am aware of that,” said Judge Beauchemin when reading her judgment on Wednesday. “Having said that, I conclude that these shortcomings, even when considered cumulatively, do not irreparably impact the credibility of his allegations that you engaged in sexual touching against him. »
Thierry Karsenti was a professor of education sciences at the University of Montreal. He held the Canada Research Chair in Information and Communication Technologies. He directed the Interuniversity Research Center on Training and the Teaching Profession.
Upon leaving the courtroom, the Crown prosecutor highlighted the courage of the victim who filed a complaint against her attacker in 2019 and who testified during the trial in the spring. “It’s a huge relief for him and it allows him now to move on,” said Ms.e Anne Gauvin.
The prosecutor mentioned that this judgment also sends a strong message to victims of sexual assault, because the judge was faced with two contradictory versions, without witnesses.
” [Ça envoie le message] that it is possible, that the voice of a single victim holds water and can lead to a conviction without any form of proof other than their own testimony,” argued Ms.e Gauvin.
“The judge said it: the testimony of this young adult at the time of the trial was not perfect. […] So people who ask themselves: “is my word alone enough?” Well, the answer is absolutely, yes,” she said convincingly.
The victim, who was 11 when she suffered the sexual touching, struggled to find the words to express her relief after the announcement of the verdict. ” I am relieved. This whole process started a long time ago,” the teenager said. He said he was well surrounded during the legal process, which he found stressful.
“I was trying not to think about it too much because the more I thought about it, the more questions I had,” he explained.
His mother, by his side, also underlined the support that his family has received since a complaint was filed with the police in 2019. “We consider that we have been very well supported, a-t- she says. But I can understand that for some people, this whole process is difficult because it takes a long time. There are plenty of times when you don’t have to think about it anymore. We just had to try to live our daily life. »
Thierry Karsenti faces a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. The minimum sentence for this crime is one year in prison. He will be back in court on August 28 to set a date for sentencing submissions.