Rape and harassment: French horse riding shaken by a new case

New testimonies of sexual and psychological violence in the world of sport. Édouard Mathé, French rider and figure in professional show jumping, was recently indicted for acts of “rapes”, of“sexual abuse” and of “bullying”, reveals The Sunday newspaper, in an article published in the January 23 edition. The 40-year-old man, presumed innocent, is targeted by several complaints lodged by four young women. Some were minors at the time.

In view of the testimonies, the public prosecutor in Versailles had opened a judicial investigation for the same charges as well as for “malicious telephone calls”, on November 25. As part of the investigation, a dozen former students and employees of the rider were interviewed. If the weekly reports exclusively the testimony of the first young woman who filed a complaint against Édouard Mathé, a source close to the case says that the account of the three other victims is similare.

Blowjobs as punishment

V., currently 17, student rider and employee of Édouard Mathé’s Tendercapital Stables stable until June 2021, met the rider in 2019 during a competition. Quickly, a love affair is born between the 16-year-old young woman and her new 38-year-old coach. Their relationship will last more than ten months. If the affair was consented to originally, the young woman claims to have performed several sexual acts under duress. V. says in particular that Édouard Mathé would have demanded that she give him “a blowjob as a punishment” for having had “a bad score” in competition. “I had no choice otherwise it would go live, we would argue”, explains the rider to the investigators.

It was when Édouard Mathé’s partner discovered this affair that the situation turned into a “Calvary”, Between multiple masked calls, suicide blackmail and surveillance by the rider, according to the deposition of the young woman, quoted by The JDD. “My client thought she was in love while she was under the influence”, says lawyer Nathalie Tomasini. Édouard Mathé, placed under judicial control since the lifting of his police custody, “recognizes romantic relationships”, but disputes the charges.

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