In Marseille, justice experiments with the presence of a dog during a trial

The teenager did not want to go to the hearing. Not being in the presence of his old theater teacher. Not having to tell in public this end of private lesson of June 12, 2018, when this 70-year-old man had him sit on his knees to listen to music on the computer, before kissing him on the corner of the lips , caress her thighs and slide her hand over her chest. “Ah they grow! », he had said to Maria (the first name has been changed at the request of her father), then aged 12.

Investigating judges begin bringing therapy dogs into their offices

In front of the room called ” of the family “ of the criminal court of Marseille, which judges in particular sexual abuse, Maria was there, Wednesday, June 29. Accompanied by Rancho, the court dog of Nîmes. It was with the head of this 2-year-old Labrador on her knees that the young girl, now 16, answered questions from the president, Céline Ballérini. Investigating judges, called upon to take statements from victims, or even to confront them with their author, are beginning to bring therapeutic dogs into their offices, but this is one of the very first times that this animal assistance has been done. in public hearing.

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The presence of the dog “will give him confidence”

Just before the trial, Jérôme Lapp, chief warrant officer of the Gard firefighters, had confided rancho to Maria, for a stroll around the courthouse. “It will help him, it will give him confidence”, then bets her father, pointing out that his daughter has been using equine therapy for a few years. At the hearing, in moments of tension, when it was necessary to speak of this hand inside her tank top, for example, the young girl looks for the dog sleeping at her feet, scratches its head. Rancho throws himself on the teenager to lick her face and play with her when, at the bar, the theater teacher is recognizing “an error of discernment”reporting the words of his psychologist, according to which “It’s a mistake, it would be a mistake if I started again”.

“When the negative emotions passed, Rancho came to see me”, analyzes Jérôme Lapp

“Rancho must have sensed the moments when the little one was in distress. It’s an emotional sponge.”analyzes Jérôme Lapp, pending judgment. “He really helped me. When he climbed on me, it occupied my mind.testifies the teenager, who has become radiant again. “It’s his way of working.assures Mr. Lapp. And when the negative emotions passed, he came to see me, he couldn’t take it anymore. » We even heard Rancho snoring during the indictment.

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