A former collaborator of Jean-Vincent Placé filed a complaint against the former environmental secretary of state last week, accusing him of sexual harassment between 2012 and 2016, when Mr. Placé was a senator, we learned, Thursday, December 2, from a source familiar with the matter.
Solicited, the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed having received the complaint and opened an investigation for “sexual harassment” on November 23, entrusting the investigations to the crime repression squad against the person. Contacted, Mr. Placé said “Take note” of the complaint.
“I do not wish at this stage of the proceedings to make any comments whatsoever. I will, of course, answer all the questions that the investigators may ask me ”, added the former boss of environmental senators.
Elements already unearthed in 2018
In March, he was fined for sexual harassment against a gendarme responsible for his security. In September 2018, he had already been sentenced to a three-month suspended prison sentence and a 1,000 euros fine for violence and insults during a party where he admitted to having been “Extremely insistent” and “Moved” with a client.
A third episode had already been mentioned by the complainant on Twitter, and by an article by Release in 2018. At the headquarters of the French Embassy in Rome, on July 14, 2016, the Secretary of State reportedly “Ordered” to his collaborator “To dance a slow” with centrist senator François Zocchetto. At the end of 2018, she accused the latter on France 3 of having him ” hurry “ and to have placed his “Hand down behind the back”.
Mr. Zochetto had given up standing for municipal elections, presenting his « excuses » for his “Lack of restraint” because he did not have “Not dared to resist the injunction” of Mr. Placé whom he accompanied, while “Denying any reprehensible behavior”.
“The speech liberation movements and the friendly injunctions of women have determined” the young woman, aged 35, ” to speak “, according to his lawyer, Tewfik Bouzenoune. Because from 2012, and its ” first week “ with M. Placed according to the elements of the complaint, he would thus have “Required [le] wearing the dress and [d’]pumps “.
Three other employees denounce inappropriate actions
She then accuses Mr. Placé of having “Touched the buttocks” in a nightclub in Lille, on the sidelines of the party’s summer rally in August 2015. Then, in mid-May 2016, in Seoul, she assures us that the one who was then secretary of state told her “Deliberately touched the chest” in a car carrying the French ambassador to South Korea, Fabien Penone, who, when contacted, sent the Agence France-Presse (AFP) to the Quai d’Orsay.
The former collaborator assures in her complaint that Vincent Placé would have also put a “Hand on the thigh” in October 2014, during a Parisian dinner with elected officials, and a “Hand in the lower back” in February 2016. AFP could not find a direct witness confirming these episodes.
But three other former collaborators of elected officials told AFP and Mediapart to have also undergone inappropriate gestures of the former Secretary of State: the first, “In the back of a taxi in 2011” ; the second, “In a restaurant in 2015” and at the Secretary of State a year later; the third, in the same Lille nightclub in August 2015.
Two other former collaborators say they have neither suffered nor noted any inappropriate remarks or gestures by Mr. Placé. One of them, however, says that she was “Constantly on alert” to avoid “The threatening artistic vagueness” : “The entire mental burden of protecting the integrity of a working relationship falls on young women in that environment. “ The second also evokes scenes from “A little heavy dredge” by M. Placé.
The acts reported to Matignon and the Elysée
According to the complaint filed, the actions of Mr. Placé were reported to Matignon and the Elysée. At François Hollande’s office, his former adviser Frédéric Monteil “Has no memory of having received information about the complainant at that time. “ But it has “Echoed by behaviors [de M. Placé] who questioned “. A member of Bernard Cazeneuve’s cabinet also said that the Prime Minister and his team had been informed of the ” pain “ of this collaborator « impeccable », who had therefore been recruited at Matignon in early 2017. Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed this information to Mediapart and to the AFP.
Since the assault in Rome, in July 2016, the young woman confided in friends: “I saw her on her return from Italy”, “Humiliated”, says one of them. a “Moment of awareness of all that she had been undergoing for five years”, confirms another. I had seen her “Physically wasting away”, abounds a third.
Several testimonies incriminate Mr. Placé’s alcohol addiction, which he recognized in 2018. More broadly, at least four women attest to the “Inappropriate behavior” or “Climate of ambiguity” maintained at work by the ex-senator.