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  • Writer's pictureElsa Moreira

Francis Evrard, a tragic failure

Hi everybody, I hope you’re doing well, and I hope you’re ready. Today’s case is exceptional in two aspects : there’s no murder, and it’s exceptionally sordid. I going to try and tell this story as well as I can while being respectful, but don’t hesitate to tell me if I make any mistake. Without any further ado, here’s the case of Francis Evrard.

TW: pedophilia, CSA


The beginning of a chaotic life

Francis Evrard was born in July 1946 in Roubaix, a city in Northern France. His father is Belgian and his mother is French. Both are factory workers.

His father is a severe alcoholic who eventually succumbs to cirrhosis. Francis will later say about him “he was just Belgian…he liked his beer”.

His mother isn’t any better. She is described as “crazy” by the neighbors, even going so far as to break a broomstick on the head of one of them. Despite that, she manages to build a close relationship with her son, who will later go live with her each time he is released from prison.

Francis’ already unstable childhood changes for the worst when he is raped (either by a neighbor or a cousin, the sources differ) at 10 years old. Allegedly, his mother does nothing when he tells her what happened to him.

It all goes downhill from there. Francis seems to give up on trying to have a normal life. He leaves school at 12 and becomes a delinquent. He is quickly caught, and after being diagnosed with various mental disorders, he is sent to a specialized institution. After that, he alternates between foster homes and correction facilities until he is 14. He is allegedly sexually assaulted again during one of his many stays.

His only semblance of normalcy comes when he obtains an apprenticeship in a lighting equipment shop, but he ends up being let go because of his sloppiness.

We will never know what made him switch, but at 16, Francis goes from simple delinquency to sexual criminality, entering a path that will end ruining dozens of lives.


A long and horrifying “career”


Francis Evrard (source: Le JDD)
Francis Evrard (source: Le JDD)

On May 14th, 1962, Francis sexually assaults a 6-year-old boy. The very next day, he assaults another little boy, who is 9 years old this time. He is quickly arrested and sentenced to three months in prison.

Once he has done his sentence, he is sent to a correctional school, where he gets the equivalent of a GED. He spends a year there, before getting out and immediately assaulting another boy. He goes back to prison for 18 months.

In 1969, in Mouscron, Belgium, he rapes a 7-year-old. When he is arrested, his photo is published in a newspaper, and a 10-year-old in Douai, France, recognizes him as the man who assaulted him. Francis is institutionalized for 4 years. When he gets out, he is deported back to France, and joins his mother in Roubaix.

In August of the same year, he rapes a 9-year-old boy. A few days later, his victim sees him in the street and reports him. Francis is arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, he is freed after 10 years for good behavior.

This time, he doesn’t immediately go back to his horrifying ways, but doesn’t wait long either. In 1984 (a year later), he assaults another child, and his sentenced to 4 years in prison. He is freed after 3 years, and assaults a 7-year-old boy as soon as he gets out. He doesn’t get caught, so he assaults an 8-year-old three months later. This time, he is arrested and sentenced to 27 years in prison.

When he is transferred to the Caen prison in the year 2000, he is offered chemical castration. Hoping that it will help him get parole more rapidly, he accepts him, but stops the treatment after four months.

In 2003, child pornography is found in his cell. It is the only time he offends in prison.

Incredibly, Francis manages to obtain a prescription for Viagra in 2007. He gets out of prison the same year, having done 20 years of his sentence.

He moves into a hotel in Caen, and tries to begin his probation process. However, when he goes to see his probation officer, she tells him to come back later because his file isn’t ready. Instead of waiting, Francis uses his savings to move back to Roubaix without telling anyone.

When he arrives home, his mother is dead, so he moves into another hotel and tries to reconnect with some family members, who reject him immediately. Probably feeling lonely, he starts to frequent a cafe downtown called Le Métropole. He often chats with the owner, telling him that he went to prison for killing a man who was assaulting a woman. Yeah, what a hero…

When he runs out of money, he leaves his hotel room and moves into the garage unit where he stores the furniture that his mother left him. That’s where he will take his last victim.


Enis

On August 15th, 2007, a little more than a month after his release, Francis crosses paths with 5-year-old Enis. He promises him toys, and takes him.

When Enis’ father comes back home to take Enis to the flea market, the child is nowhere to be found. He starts looking for him, and the whole neighborhood joins him. At 5pm, a neighbor tells him that he saw Enis at the flea market with his great-uncle. Enis doesn’t have a great-uncle. His father goes immediately to the police station to report him missing, and the police officers spring into action. A missing person’s report is broadcasted in the whole country, and patrol cars start searching the city.

The neighbor tells the police that the man he saw had a cast on his arm and was headed downtown. That’s when the French equivalent of an Amber alert is broadcasted on all TV and radio channels. The owner of Le Métropole sees the alert, and calls in to tell the police that the description of the man matches Francis Evrard.

Francis’ name is entered into the criminal record database, and the investigators soon find out about his criminal history. They also find out that he recently had a scooter accident which explains the cast.

When police officers go to Francis’ address, they only find garage units. Thinking that they have a fake address, they turn back.

Around 10pm, a taxi driver comes to them, saying that he took a client from the garage units to the flea market, before taking that client back to the garage units, with a child this time.

Officers are sent again to the garages, with dogs in toe. The dogs quickly find Enis’ scent near one of the units, and the police officers don’t wait a second before breaking the door down. Behind that door, they find Francis, with Enis in his arms. Both are naked.

Francis is arrested, and Enis is taken to the hospital in Lille. The doctors soon find tranquilizers in his blood.

When Enis is able to speak to the police, he tells the officers that he was assaulted, and that Francis had a knife. That knife will be found in the garage unit.

Speaking of the unit, officers also find child pictures in there. Most of them are from the 70s, and show boys posing with their soccer team or young boy scouts.

In the police station, Francis doesn’t deny anything, but tries to justify himself by saying that he simply had an impulse, and that he only assaulted Enis “with the fingers”.

He talks a lot about his life and his criminal acts, and says that he made around 40 victims. According to him, these victims were mostly children that he didn’t know, because he “can’t help it with them”.Francis is immediately indicted, but later retracts parts of his confession, creating a doubt regarding the exact nature of the assault.

During his detention, he writes to the President to ask for physical castration. However, physical castration is prohibited in France, as it’s considered contrary to human dignity.

When he learns about this demand, Enis’ father explodes : “Why does he ask for castration nine days before his trial ? He’s trying to make himself a martyr, he is a manipulator. I’m mad, I’m angry.[…] I trust the justice system. I’m expecting that it never happens again. He has to pay.”

On the other hand, Francis’ lawyer makes the letter to the President public, probably to show the good will of the pedophile.


The trial

Francis’ trial begins on October 26th, 2009. He confesses again to everything, including his previous assaults on other children. He says that only some of those children resisted, implying that the others were consenting. He even says: “At that time, children liked that.” He justifies his impulses by saying that they are caused by the assault he suffered when he was a child.

Several witnesses come to the stand. Among them is one the investigators who interrogated Francis after his arrest. He says: “I had the feeling the Mr. Evrard didn’t try to hide […]. He didn’t escape his responsibilities […]. It’s like he finds some sort of euphoria in what he does.[…] His impulses do not come from his genitals but from his head and even chemical or physical castration can’t fight them.”

Also called to the stand was the doctor who gave him the prescription for Viagra. He justifies himself: “In prison, doctors don’t have access to the files of the convicts and I don’t want to know them […], that is not why I entered prison healthcare.[…] Viagra, to my knowledge, doesn’t cause any impulses.”

About Francis’ impulses, it is found that experts had been ringing the alarm for decades. In 1969, an expert described the pedophile as “socially dangerous” and presenting “severe anomalies”. In 1974, other experts said that Francis “represents a dead end for psychiatry as well as for penal repression”. In 1987, another expert judged him criminally irresponsible, but only because “it is obvious that prison is of no use in the case of Mr. Evrard”. In 2000, the last expert to examine him concluded that “if he accepts a hormonal treatment, it is only for to get out of detention”.

Later in the trial, Francis’ supervision is also examined. That’s when we learn that the probation services only sent him a convening notice on August 16th, 2007, a few hours after his arrest.

Francis Evrard is eventually sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. He will be able to ask for parole when he is 81. He filed an appeal soon after the sentencing, but eventually retracted it.

In 2010, Enis’ family filed a lawsuit against the state for its failure to properly monitor Francis. We don’t know how that worked out.


How sex offenders are treated in France

At the time of Enis’ assault, the President assembled a task force to organize a better prevention of recidivism regarding sex offenders. Not much came of that.

In France, since 1998, sex offenders can be required to undergo several types of treatment, including therapy. Now, chemical castration can be included in that obligation, and is no longer only an option like it was for Francis.

Sex offenders can also be monitored via an electronic bracelet since 2000.

However, unlike other countries, France doesn’t have a public sex offenders list and can’t sentence them to indeterminate sentences.


That’s it for today. Let me know what you think about this case on r/Murder_Wine_Cheese, on Tumblr (@mwacblog) or on Instagram (@mwacblog).

Go watch some cute animal videos, and I’ll see you with the next case !

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