It is a gloomy affair which has hitherto remained secret, and which refers to uses that are believed to be over.
As they are described by some of their employees, the Pichards, renowned bakers and pastry chefs from the 15th arrondissement in Paris, seem straight out of the novel “Les Misérables” in which the Thenardiers, this couple of innkeepers, outrageously exploit Cosette as good at everything.
The father, Frédéric, 56, has been rewarded many times for his work, was notably indicted on February 27, 2020 for sexual assault on minors under 15 by a person in authority, sexual harassment and moral harassment. The same day, his son, Geoffrey, 34, was indicted in particular for sexual assault on minors of 15 years by a person in authority, sexual assault and harassment. The Pichards are crying out for a plot, and have allowed silence in police custody. The father and the son were left free under judicial supervision with the prohibition, for the father, to go to the bakery, located rue Cambronne.
Since then, the Maison Pichard has been the subject of even more serious denunciations.
Talia, 34, accuses her stepfather of having raped her for 15 years, unbeknownst to her husband, who himself allegedly abused her in the marital context.
A second judicial investigation was opened on February 18, 2021 for rape by a person in authority and rape by a spouse.
The investigation was entrusted to the 3rd district of the judicial police of Paris.
At the beginning, sexist and inappropriate remarks
It all started in July 2019 when Marjorie M., 37, decided to push open the doors of the 15th arrondissement police station, a stone's throw from the Pichard bakery and pastry shop. The thirty-something arrived at the Pichards six years earlier as an apprentice. Very quickly, she has a romantic relationship with the son, Geoffrey, her direct superior, married to another employee and father of a little boy.
But while Marjorie quickly distances himself from the latter because of a "change in behavior", the young woman finds herself caught, according to her, between the clutches of the "very enterprising" father, chaining "sexist and inappropriate remarks" . "Put more red on your lips to make them stand out bitch, tease", would have launched to his employee the boss of the bakery. One day, he would have followed her into the locker room and tried to get in. Another time, he would have lifted her dress. The ex-young apprentice reports two sexual assaults that occurred 15 days apart, in the spring of 2014: the first time Mr. Pichard would have touched her buttocks, the second, her chest.
The employee ended up going on sick leave the last month of her apprenticeship, "no longer supporting what is happening in the bakery".
To the police, the young woman explains that she is not the only apprentice to have suffered sexual abuse from her boss.
According to her, the latter would even abuse his own beautiful daughter, Talia.
Victims denounce a sectarian atmosphere
The investigators then contacted the Chamber of Trades and Crafts in order to find the list of employees since January 2013 - the date from which the Maison Pichard called on apprentices for the pastry shop. Five other alleged victims, including three minors, will finally file a complaint for sexual harassment and assault against Frédéric Pichard, three others against the son. They are often pretty and very young provincials, whose job interview sometimes lasted a whole day.
All denounce within the Maison Pichard a sectarian atmosphere with a boss behaving like a guru and a son under the influence. "They intrude a lot in people's privacy, ask a lot of questions and talk so much about sex that it all ends up being normal," said Victor, a 20-year-old employee who did not file a complaint.
The complainants portray a tyrannical boss who does not hesitate to humiliate, belittle and insult some of his employees. The apprentices stay in studios near the bakery made available to them free of charge by Frédéric Pichard. What makes them chores to thank you: undeclared overtime, absence of leave for several weeks in a row during the holidays, chores of wood for the bread oven, apple harvest or cherry picking in the family country house of the Pichards. . Eight employees have lodged a complaint for moral harassment against their boss, and others have brought proceedings before the Labor Court. Nevertheless, some employees continue to support the Maison Pichard, claiming to have seen or known nothing, and for some denouncing a cabal.
The promiscuity between employers and apprentices seems to have favored violations of the employees' homes, day and night.
Cleanliness checks, searches, alleged delays at the bakery… everything is a pretext for visiting the Pichards who have duplicate keys for each studio.
“One night as I slept, I felt someone stick to me and put their arms around my body,” says Sabrina, a minor apprentice.
She then notices that the night visitor is none other than Geoffrey, the boss's own son.
“He told me he was dreaming and left.
Between father and son, a "hunting ground story"
All the complainants tell of the fingers of Frédéric Pichard who caress their lips, snap their bodices, hands which descend along their hips, touch their buttocks and their breasts, sometimes under their clothes ... "One day, while I was in the bakery yard, he put two fingers between my thighs to check the space, ”says Margot.
A practice reproduced with other apprentices, as if it were a selection test.
One after the other, they will leave the bakery, one of them, a minor, after a suicide attempt.
Asked, Me Maud Touitou, Frédéric Pichard's lawyer, does not wish to comment for the moment.
"My client has not yet been heard on the fund by the judge, and we are in the secrecy of the investigation," she said.
Between father and son, “it was a story of a hunting ground. Mr. Pichard has his, Geoffrey too, says Victor. Geoffrey sexualizes the conversation, if he can touch, he touches. It affects guys more easily. For girls, he was more vigilant. Several complainants thus denounce pinching in the buttocks or small taps, one of them, minor, evoking touching. For Me Yann Le Bras, Geoffrey's lawyer, "none of the charges, starting with those of a criminal nature, appear to be founded and cannot succeed". “It is up to the instruction to disentangle what holds false accusations. My client could not be heard at the fund, he reserves his statements to the examining magistrate. For my part,I am convinced that the outcome of this procedure can in no case be an assize court. "
Because there are even more serious accusations. The son would have unwittingly shared his wife with his father. Talia thus told investigators that she had had an unwanted relationship for 15 years with her stepfather. "I managed to leave with my son, there was a grip from Mr. Pichard, I want to move on," she first told the police before finally filing a complaint against her. stepfather and her husband, a year later, in April 2020.
Today his lawyer, Me Marie-Paule Pioli, who also defends an employee who filed a complaint for rape against the Pichard son, protests against the slowness of justice. “Certain files concerning public persons benefit from all the attention. On the other hand, a case like this one, with a victim in danger of death but anonymous, falls into oblivion, observes Marie-Paule Pioli. Here, we are in the banal barbarism, that of the corner of the street, the real violence, which is exerted away from any police presence, that which no social service sees, and which nevertheless invades us, without that this does not encourage anyone to demonstrate in front of the National Assembly. "