Photographer raped woman in studio, court heard

A photographer sexually assaulted a woman in his studio, making her feel “sick” and “disturbed”, a court has heard.

Pascal Moliere, 54, of Havant, Hampshire, has denied four counts of sexual assault during an hour-long photoshoot at a warehouse in Fulham, west London, in July 2010.

Prosecutors’ barrister Tyrone Silkot told Southwark Crown Court that the alleged victim, whose identity is protected by law, was 22 at the time and Moliere was 44 or 45.

She had moved to London to pursue a career in acting and in 2010 approached Moliere for headshots through a website called StarNow, the court heard.

The aspiring actress borrowed money from her mother to shoot at The Cooper House on Fulham Broadway from July 1 to 31.

Mr Silcott told jurors that before the shooting, Molire asked the woman if she wanted to do “fashion or sexy shots”.

The woman agreed to bring lingerie because she was interested in modeling and “felt it might be good for her and her partner to take some pictures”, he said.

She said that when she arrived to visit Moliere, she closed the door to her “dark” workspace, which “didn’t look like a studio”.

She said Molire was “polite and professional” for the first 15 minutes when she took the headshot, but after she took off her clothes he started touching her.

Mr Silcott told the court: “As he was telling her how or where to stand, he started brushing against her and touching the parts of her body that were unclothed.”

He said that Molire took pictures of her with her legs open from below, repeatedly told her that she had “a beautiful vagina” and touched her genitals.

Mr Silkcott said: “For his part, she felt uncomfortable and upset.

“After the photoshoot was over, the respondent kissed her with a ‘full kiss on the mouth’.

“The kiss made her feel sick.”

Mr Silcott said the alleged victim “broken down in tears” after leaving the studio and told her boyfriend what had happened.

Her boyfriend contacts Molire, asking her to remove all photos and return the money or she will contact the police.

Molire returned the charges and the woman did not call the police because “she didn’t think she would be believed and was embarrassed that she hadn’t said no or stood up for herself”, Mr. Silcott said.

Nine years later, on 17 January 2019, the woman, inspired by the MeToo movement, told the police about the incident, the jurors heard.

Police interviewed Moliere with caution on 8 May 2019 and gave a prepared statement.

He said in the statement, “I completely deny these allegations.

“I remember a guy calling me about my fiancĂ© about a photoshoot.

“He was very aggressive and threatening, he demanded a refund which I provided.

“I don’t remember all the details of that particular photoshoot; however, I do know that any photos and poses were entirely with her consent and that I behaved professionally at all times.

“The studio I worked in had CCTV, the studio and the entire building, and the studio was not locked.

“There were screened areas and toilets where customers could change with privacy.”

In late 2021, images from the shoot showing the woman in “various stages of undress” from a laptop confiscated at Molire’s address were extracted from close-ups of her vagina, and edited versions of the photographs to the jury. were shown.

Dressed in a light blue shirt and navy suit with a face covering for the first day of his trial, Moliere has denied any sexual contact with the woman.

Jury members will hear from Moliere’s defense attorney Esther Schutzer-Weisman in the coming days.

Trial continues.