West End photographer found guilty of sexual assault
A West End photographer has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault on a woman who took part in a £400 "modelling shoot" in his studio more than a decade ago.
Pascal Molliere, 55, assaulted the 22-year-old during an hour-long photoshoot at a warehouse in Fulham, west London, in July 2010.
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court heard the woman, who had borrowed money from her mother to pay for portfolio images for her acting career, was locked inside his studio, where Molliere groped and intimately kissed the victim.
Prosecutor Tyrone Silcott said Molliere was "polite and professional" for the first 15 minutes before photographing the woman from underneath with her legs open and touching her genitals.
"For her part, she felt uncomfortable and upset," the prosecutor said. "After the photoshoot had finished, the defendant kissed her with 'a full kiss on the mouth'.
"The kiss made her feel sick."
After leaving the studio the woman "burst into tears" and told her boyfriend about what had happened, jurors heard.
Her boyfriend branded Molliere an "abhorrent human" and contacted him telling him to delete all the photographs and to refund the money or he would contact the police.
Molliere quickly refunded the £400 fee for the shoot.
The victim said the #MeToo movement helped her to report Molliere to the police in 2019.
A jury convicted him of three counts of sexual assault after deliberating for two days.
Detective Constable David Roberts praised the victim and urged any other women who may also know the photographer as Pascal Gerrard to come forward.
DC Roberts said: "We know that reliving the trauma of incidents like this is horrific for survivors, and the composure she maintained throughout this trial has astounded myself and my team.
"Our primary concern is that there may be more young women who have been subject to the same treatment by Molliere – who now goes by ‘Pascal Gerrard’. It is essential that, if you recognise either of these names and think that you may have been affected in a similar way, you let us know.
Pauline Curtis, from the CPS, said: "In his capacity as a professional photographer Pascal Molliere exploited a young woman who had simply wanted a portfolio of images to help her begin an acting career.
"She did not consent to any sexual activity. The victim trusted Molliere as a professional photographer, however, that trust was abused while she was in her most vulnerable state."
Curtis said she hoped the conviction would encourage other victims of such crimes to come forward and "report their attackers".
Molliere, from Hampshire, will return for sentencing on 12 April.