Simon Houle was absolved on June 21 after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a friend and taking pictures of her private parts.
Less than two weeks after receiving a discharge for sexual assault and voyeurism thanks in part to his “good character”, engineer Simon Houle allegedly grabbed the buttocks of another woman without her consent at a bar in Cayo Coco, Cuba.
Vickie Vachon has been in shock since returning to Quebec on July 5 after a week-long stay at Memories Caribe Beach Resort .
The 40-year-old teacher from the Laurentians stayed there with a dozen friends to mark the retirement of a colleague. She would have crossed paths with Simon Houle, on vacation in the sun a few days after obtaining a conditional discharge in Trois-Rivières, as evidenced by photos obtained by Radio-Canada.
“I want judges to think twice about letting an attacker go free. »
— Vickie Vachon
Vickie Vachon claims she was inappropriately touched by the 30-year-old on the night of July 3-4 after he aggressively grabbed her buttocks in front of witnesses near the hotel bar .
It was only when she returned to Quebec, almost two days later, that the mother of the family realized that the one who left was caught in the headlines because of a controversial decision by Judge Matthieu Poliquin, of the Court of Quebec.
Simon Houle traveled to Cuba, where he allegedly engaged in inappropriate behavior.
Simon Houle was absolved on June 21 after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a friend and taking photos of her private parts at a party in Trois-Rivières in 2019. The judge ruled that the consequences of x27;a criminal record would be disproportionate since Simon Houle could no longer travel for his job. Simon Houle would have demonstrated that he is a person of good character and that his crimes are contextual and specific in his life, can we read in the decision.
Radio-Canada contacted Simon Houle on Friday to allow him to offer his version of the facts. The engineer did not respond and his lawyer, Pierre Spain, declined the Crown corporation's request for an interview.
Simon Houle is not charged in connection with Vickie Vachon's allegations and her statements have not passed the test of the courts.
On the evening of the alleged events, Vickie Vachon was at the hotel bar with friends when a man named Simon joined their conversation. He showed me pictures on his cell phone and told me about his work as an engineer […], about his deceased mother whom he took care of, that he drives planes, that he has two brothers , that he likes traveling, etc. […] We really had some great discussions.
When accompanying a friend to her room, the mother of the family allegedly proposed to three people, including Simon Houle, to walk with them.
It was when they returned to the bar, a few minutes later, that the touching occurred.
While walking, Simon grabbed my buttocks in a very very intense, very aggressive, a very big handful of buttocks. The woman reportedly reacted promptly against the man, whom she describes as a colossus.
“I got angry. I yelled at him. I gave him a good kick on the shins.
Right away I asked him: "Can you tell me what did I do or what did I say that allowed you to believe that you had the right to touch me? Tell me!" I knew that the answer was no […]. And then he was like, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's my hands. It's not me, it's my hands."
The discussion would have continued back at the bar.
I gave him a good moral. I think my discussion must have lasted 20 to 30 minutes. I said to him, looking him in the eye: "Coudonc, you in Quebec, do you do that, touch the buttocks of girls? When you walk into a bar, do you allow yourself to touch the girls like you just did to me?" […] I lecture her worthy of a teacher talking to a student.
I have the impression that he understands, because his eyes are full of water. So at that point, I'm like, “He got it, he won't do it again.” Vickie Vachon had no idea that the man she was lecturing about consent might be a just-absolved sexual aggressor, who had also admitted in court to having sexually assaulted another woman in the past, without having been charged.
She claims to have understood the absurdity of the situation when she returned to Quebec the next day.
Returning to her family in Quebec without having spoken to Simon again, Vickie Vachon said she was shocked when she recognized Simon Houle's face in the media.
I see his big face [in the items]. I read, but I am emotional. […] I see "sexual assault" and there, it spine in my head. […] When I turned on the television, they were talking about it live.
Vickie Vachon criticizes the judicial system for not having protected her.
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“What could have happened to me? I'm telling you, he's a big guy. And the handful of buttocks he gave me… These are the thoughts I have right now, telling myself that something bad could have happened to me. Because this guy has no criminal record. Because he can travel. »
— Vickie Vachon
If that guy had been a mechanic, he would have had his criminal record. But no, he's an engineer, with his beautiful ring. Then he has the right to be there. Then he abused me. It's awful. It's terrible.
Vickie Vachon filed a complaint with the Lac des Deux-Montagnes Police Department.
We received a sexual assault complaint last Thursday, the file was assigned to an investigator on Friday. We will meet the victim during the week to find out more precisely what happened and the investigation will take its course, explains the publicist Jean-Philippe Labbé without confirming the identity of the person concerned.
Vickie Vachon denounces Judge Poliquin's decision, which will be appealed by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions. I think of the other victims. How must they feel knowing that this guy can still do almost anything he wants? He can go anywhere. In any country. […] The justice system has escaped one more.
Radio-Canada spoke with another tourist, who was not traveling with Vickie Vachon and who allegedly witnessed the assault. He requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Simon [Houle] and Vickie [Vachon] were walking and Simon's hand went to Vickie's buttocks. Then I saw Vickie react negatively. […] She kicked Simon on his shin.
Josée Binette, a retired teacher who took part in the trip, confirms having met Simon Houle at the hotel bar and affirms that Vickie Vachon told her that she had been attacked by him the day after the events. Josée Binette immediately recognized the engineer in the media upon her return home. I thought that guy didn't understand. He really needs help.
In Simon Houle's pre-sentence report, produced on February 24 to help the court determine the appropriate sentence for the attacker, the probation officer mentions that the engineer has difficulty communicating with the women.
His intoxication enabled him to facilitate his heterosocial relationships, the respondent emphasizing that he otherwise had difficulty approaching women. This insecurity appears to have been present since his youth, having developed a certain fear of rejection as a teenager in reaction to the taunts of his peers.
In the document obtained by Radio-Canada, we can to read that the gentleman appears to have used the victim, and sexuality in general, as a method of self-validation in the face of his insecurities and his feeling of inadequacy in his relationships with women.
Simon Houle claimed to have reduced his alcohol consumption after his arrest in a conscious effort [to] limit the risk of a new recidivism.
The officer believed that the man [demonstrated] an adequate level of awareness, acknowledging the inadequacy of his actions as well as the consequences suffered by the victim.