Fabrice Burgaud: The Outreau Case Magistrate is Now a Prosecuting Attorney

Netflix’s ‘The Outreau Case’ delves into the infamous Outreau trial, a real-life legal saga that unfolded in France. The trial, which took place in the early 2000s, centered around accusations of child sexual abuse in the small town of Outreau, near Boulogne-sur-Mer. It involved multiple defendants, including members of the same family and their acquaintances, who were accused of horrific acts of abuse against children.

Fabrice Burgaud, the investigating magistrate in the Outreau case, became central to the highly scrutinized judicial investigation that captivated public attention for years. Burgaud’s actions came under intense scrutiny following the acquittal of several accused individuals after the trial in 2004. He faced criticism for alleged inexperience and for forming misguided alliances with one of the defendants, resulting in charges being brought against numerous others. Burgaud’s appearance in the documentary marks the first time he has publicly addressed his role in the case and shared his reflections on the controversial proceedings.

Fabrice Burgaud Faced Criticism for His Actions

By 2001, Fabrice Burgaud had recently finished college and was working as an examining magistrate at the High Court in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. He was responsible for conducting investigations into criminal cases, gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, and determining whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Burgaud was relatively young when he headed the judicial investigation into the alleged abuse suffered by the children of Thierry Delay and Myriam Delay Badaoui. The family resided in Outreau, and the investigation focused on accusations of abuse perpetrated by the parents against their children. The children had been removed from the family home in December 2000.

The judicial investigations began on February 22, 2001, and the first files that came to Burgaud were the statements that were provided by the four children of Thierry and Myriam. Burgaud’s initial step was to enlist a psychological expert to assess the credibility of the children’s testimonies, distinguishing between factual accounts and imaginative narratives. Upon receiving confirmation, he authorized a search warrant to be carried out at the Dwaly residence. During the search, pornographic tapes, sexual toys, and other items corresponding to the children’s descriptions were discovered.

Thierry vehemently refuted all accusations leveled against him, but Burgaud asserted that the evidence was sufficient to press charges. Meanwhile, Myriam initially denied any involvement but later requested to meet with the magistrate, where she admitted complicity in the abuse perpetrated by herself and her husband. She disclosed that their children had not only been victimized by them but also by neighbors and others.

The descriptions of the abuse were extensive and horrific, and some of the accused accepted the charges against them and gave more details. One of them alleged the murder of a Belgian girl, which was corroborated by Myriam and one of the victims. The people Burgaud ended up accusing hailed from various walks of life, including a bailiff and his wife, a priest, a baker, and the neighbors of the Delays. Several of the accused alleged that Burgaud had not investigated the charges properly and was in a “quasi-partnership” with Myriam. They alleged that all the charges he brought were on her words and had not acted independently.

Where is Fabrice Burgaud Now?

As preparations for the trial were underway, Fabrice Burgaud was relocated to Paris, France, and subsequently assigned to the anti-terrorism division in 2002 before later transitioning to the sentence execution section. The trial against the 17 accused commenced in 2004 at the Saint-Omer’s Court of Assizes. During the proceedings, Myriam Delay Badaoui retracted her allegations against several of the accused. Ultimately, the trial concluded with the acquittal of seven individuals, while 12 children were identified as victims of the abuse. In the Appeals Court, six more of the accused were acquitted.

Burgaud’s actions faced severe criticism and came to symbolize the shortcomings of the justice system, especially following the suicide of one of the accused individuals, François Mourmand. In February 2006, Burgaud was summoned to testify before a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the judicial failures surrounding the case. During the proceedings, he said that he could feel the suffering of those wrongly accused and took responsibility for his actions.

In 2009, Burgaud received a “reprimand with an entry in the file” from the Superior Council of the Judiciary but continued his service as a magistrate. Subsequently, in 2017, he was promoted to the position of general counsel at the Court of Cassation. Presently, he serves as a prosecuting attorney at the Appeals Court. Burgaud has expressed compassion and empathy for the victims, believing they have been denied proper “defense mechanisms.”

Read More: Jonathan Delay: The Outreau Case Survivor is Now an Author