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The Jérôme Pernoo affair - CNSMDP - Émilie Delorme is an administrative and legal case which has opposed, since March 2021, the cello professor of the Paris Conservatory (CNSMDP) Jérôme Pernoo to the management of the establishment, represented by Émilie Delorme, on the basis of allegations of harassment on the part of the teacher against some of his students.
At the end of a controversial internal investigation, carried out jointly by the CNSMDP and the Egaé group, in the person of Caroline De Haas, the disciplinary procedure carried out by the Conservatoire led its director to successively announce: the reinstatement without any sanction of Jérôme Pernoo after the four legal months [7] of suspension, his summons two months later to an interview with a view to "dismissal for serious misconduct", then his renunciation of the dismissal in favor of a one-year suspension from the professor, without salary, “for having failed to meet the requirements of exemplarity”

Jérôme Pernoo challenged this sanction in summary proceedings before the Paris administrative court and won his case against the CNSMDP in December 2021. The judge considered the sanction disproportionate “taking into account the nature of the faults” committed by the person concerned, and ordered his immediate reinstatement. Émilie Delorme, after having initially suggested that she was appealing, finally complied and retroactively canceled the sanction, reinstated Jérôme Pernoo, but suspended him again in the process, for a period of four months, in order to to initiate a second internal investigation.


On March 16, 2021, after receiving, according to sources, one [27], two [2, 3] or “several” [28] reports against cellist Jérôme Pernoo via an anonymous email box [6] set up by the Egaé group at the CNSMDP, Émilie Delorme, its director, launched an internal investigation and suspended the professor for a maximum period of four months, as provided for by law [7]. The report(s) would have informed her of “facts that could amount to harassment and sexual assault, particularly against minors. » [2, 3]
In the meantime, she has informed the prosecutor, as she is obliged to do, of the report(s) she received. A preliminary investigation for “sexual assault on a minor”, entrusted to the Minors’ Brigade, was opened on April 20. [1]

Internal administrative investigation

The internal, confidential administrative investigation is entrusted jointly to Christophe Pillon, head of human resources at the CNSMDP, and Caroline De Haas, feminist activist and associate director of the Egaé group. It begins on March 17, 2021. Students testify to having been contacted by Mediapart, about it, from March 23 [4]. Caroline De Haas explains to Le Point that the presence of the Conservatory at her side, as co-investigator, “guarantees the smooth running [of the investigation] and allows the structure to take a look at the work carried out by the Egaé group [2, 3]. »

Support of students and colleagues

A week after the start of the investigation, on March 24, Émilie Delorme was informed, by registered letter from a close collaborator of Jérôme Pernoo, that the interview report that Egaé asked her to sign was redacted from the almost all of his exculpatory remarks, including the most detailed. The same letter is sent to Christophe Pillon, co-investigator for the CNSMDP [2, 3].

On April 9, at the request of all of Jérôme Pernoo's students, a videoconference meeting was held with Émilie Delorme and Caroline DeHaas. The students, the guide and the assistant of Jérôme Pernoo, who have all already been questioned by Caroline De Haas and Christophe Pillon, and who unanimously support the professor, express their concern about the conduct of the investigation, which they consider biased and solely incriminating, fearing that the portrait they are given of their teacher will be distorted. It was during this meeting that Caroline De Haas said to all the students, in front of the principal: “For me, someone who testifies never causes harm. The person is telling the truth [2, 3, 4]. »

Criticisms of the investigation


In the weeks that followed, a large number of witnesses described these systematic distortions of their statements several times in the press [2, 29, 30, 4, 6], the absence of the investigator's questions in the reports, and the suppression of their exculpatory testimonies, when it is not the absolute reversal of the meaning of their answers. One student recounts: “In some cases, I was even made to say the exact opposite of what I had said. For example, “it never made me uncomfortable” became “it made me uncomfortable”. They did this several times. » Another specifies: “My report did not reflect what I wanted to say. Often, the questions that were asked to me were removed and that changed the meaning of the answers. Given the subject of the investigation, it immediately gave a very negative image of the professor [6]. » A former student recounts how “Caroline De Haas advised him to consult a health professional, in order to remember potential reprehensible behavior committed by his teacher. » He adds: “I had never been confronted with parajudicial practices but they chill me somewhat. Especially when it is literally explained to me that if my testimony is exculpatory, it is not very interesting and will not be considered as such since the aim of this investigation is to prove [that Jérôme Pernoo] is guilty and not innocent [4]. » Several witnesses also claim to have signed their fines and only understood afterwards that what they had said had not been taken into account [2, 3].

Jérôme Pernoo's supporters also recall that the enthusiasm surrounding his person has guaranteed him, in fourteen years of teaching at the Conservatoire, an "absolutely clean" administrative file, whether it concerns acts of sexual violence or quarrels with his students. Furthermore, none of his students would have ever expressed the desire to leave their class to join another, a practice that is nevertheless common at the CNSMDP [4].
Jérôme Pernoo himself was questioned by investigators on April 8 and 15. While he is supposed to be questioned last to be able to respond to all possible accusations, a witness will be questioned five days after him, on April 20. The words of this witness were cited seven times against them without the defendant having had the opportunity to know them, and therefore to respond to them [2, 3]. The CNSMDP investigator, Christophe Pillon, was not present at this late interrogation, and mentioned “a conflict of agenda”, without further details, when he was asked to explain this double irregularity.

Faced with these very numerous alerts, Émilie Delorme will always maintain, for her part, that “the investigation was carried out in a contradictory, diligent, rigorous and impartial manner [6]. » The management of the CNSMDP even declared in December 2021: “Last July, no element in our possession allowed us to call into question the impartial nature of the internal investigation [15]. »


Closure of the investigation and disciplinary procedure

The investigation was closed on April 20, and the report was submitted to the director. After reading it, she decided to maintain the suspension of Jérôme Pernoo, which was initially only announced for “the time of the investigation.” » [2, 3] On May 4, 2021, Émilie Delorme confirms in Diapason that an internal investigation is underway against a professor, without mentioning his name [31].
May 7 [6], she draws up a disciplinary report to refer the matter to the joint consultative commission which must rule on the case. According to Le Figaro [4], this report would contain “big errors” against him, including the change in the age of a witness, presented as a fourteen-year-old teenager when he was in reality twenty years old. Furthermore, an entire passage from Egaé's report, where the facts alleged against the teacher are presented in the conditional, is taken up in the indicative by Émilie Delorme in the disciplinary report. Finally, the numerous defense testimonies are only mentioned as reinforcing the charge: “[Mr. Pernoo] generates in many students - current or former - a very significant admiration, even a form of fascination [6] […] The investigators attended interviews in which they felt a very clear desire of the interlocutors to protect Jérôme Pernoo […] as if it seemed impossible for a certain number of people to admit a single problematic behavior of the from Jérôme Pernoo. This seems to demonstrate a form of ascendancy on the part of Jérôme Pernoo over the people around him [4​]. »

Media coverage

June 8 appears in Mediapart [1] an article by Antoine Pecqueur, which reveals for the first time, while the disciplinary procedure is not over, the name of Jérôme Pernoo. It is a question of “touching several young boys, minors, which allegedly occurred outside the CNSMDP […] and which took place over more than ten years. » The only witnesses cited in the article, however, do not mention sexual assault or touching, but criticize teaching methods or behavior, one speaking of “seduction and control”, another asserting: “we accept unacceptable things under the pretext that we are part of the same family. » A former student of Jérôme Pernoo, responds, for his part: “I have the unpleasant impression and almost certainty that we are trying to drag him through the mud. The reports against him seem to me above all to be malicious testimony with the aim of destroying him professionally and socially. »
On June 9, France Musique [32] reproduces on its site the essence of the article from Mediapart, citing the name of Jérôme Pernoo again, without providing further testimony. On June 10, Antoine Pecqueur, also a morning columnist for France Musique, devotes his post to his own article from the day before, repeating his accusations and once again disclosing the name of Jérôme Pernoo [14].
Also on June 10, Émilie Delorme, according to a witness, sent an email to the entire Conservatory to confirm the existence of the procedure mentioned in the press [6].
June 12 is Diapason who republishes these elements, without providing additional testimony [34].
On June 15, a second meeting took place between the management and Jérôme Pernoo's students, at the latter's request. They once again expressed to the director their concerns about the progress of the investigation [6], and demanded the return of the teacher, or at least the right to be able to contact him, which the director refused [4​].
On June 22, the joint consultative commission takes place. According to Jérôme Pernoo, “rather than having to answer specific questions, he was asked to tell “what he had understood about the file” [6]. » He evokes a “messy and poorly organized” meeting and suspects a “lack of knowledge of the 517-page file on the part of the participants [4​]. »

Reinstatement of Jérôme Pernoo and redundancy plan

July 16, 2021, last day of the four-month suspension [7], Émilie Delorme announces to Jérôme Pernoo that she is not imposing any sanction and reinstates him in his duties. She nevertheless summons him on September 2 for an interview prior to a disciplinary sanction and specifies that she is considering “dismissal for disciplinary reasons without notice or severance pay [6, 8]. »
The Conservatory refrains from any communication regarding this reinstatement. All of Jérôme Pernoo's students try several times and by several means, including publicly on Twitter [10, 15], to contact Émilie Delorme to find out if, on the one hand, this reintegration of which they learned through the press is true, and on the other hand if it means that they now have the right to see him and to contact, which has been prohibited since March 16. Émilie Delorme only wrote to them at the start of the school year, to invite them to a meeting, without ever answering their question [15].
On September 2, the interview prior to a disciplinary sanction takes place. Émilie Delorme heard the professor's defense arguments for the first time, almost six months after his dismissal.

Waiver of dismissal and one-year exclusion

On September 7, she decided to give up the “dismissal for serious misconduct” that she had considered. She nevertheless pronounced a one-year exclusion without pay [9]. The CNSMDP press release, dated September 10 [35], makes “no mention of accusations of sexual violence” [5, 13, 36], no “mention of the reports at the origin of the investigation” [15], but calls into question his “teaching methods” [5, 37].
The management specifies that it “observed that Jérôme Pernoo had failed to meet the exemplary requirements required by the Conservatory as a higher education establishment. It emerges from numerous testimonies that [his] teaching methods […] disrupt the smooth running of the Conservatory and hinder the exercise of the duty of protection which is imposed on the latter with regard to its students.” The management also indicates having “chosen this type of sanction in a process of appeasement, after having received assurance from Jérôme Pernoo of his commitment to change his teaching methods and to provide teaching consistent with the exemplarity required by the within an educational establishment. » [10]
Jérôme Pernoo's lawyers, Hervé Temime and Chirine Heydari-Malayeri, welcome the fact that the CNSMDP has decided “to abandon the plan for dismissal for serious misconduct [10]. » They recall that “none of the criminally qualifying facts mentioned by the press was held against him, despite an investigation carried out exclusively against him, in violation of the cardinal principles of contradictory, objectivity, impartiality , prudence and confidentiality. [Mr. Pernoo] had also been reinstated by his hierarchy into the establishment's workforce on July 16, 2021 [10, 37]. » They also denounce this twelve-month suspension pronounced “on the basis of alleged educational grievances, unrelated [to] the accusations [mentioned by the press] [9]. »
Under the terms of the letter of sanction, according to several sources, Jérôme Pernoo is accused of having too much control, of creating a family spirit and therefore of competition between students, of using spoonerisms and of giving nicknames. to his students [37, 38].

Challenge before the administrative court

Jérôme Pernoo indicates that he will contest this decision before the administrative court [37, 38].
On September 28, the parents of all of Jérôme Pernoo's students, "alerted by the anger of their children" according to Marianne [15], and knowing that the grievances against the professor only concern his teaching methods, wrote to Roselyne Bachelot, Minister of Culture, to ask him to reconsider the sanction that the director pronounced against Jérôme Pernoo. They are alarmed at the consequences for their children of a sanction which seems “disproportionate” to them in view of the facts apparently accused of Jérôme Pernoo, by going “totally against the interests of the students [39]. » “Never,” they continue, “[our children] have reported to us the fact of feeling uncomfortable in class for reasons such as the use of certain forms of humor, the fact of being called by a friendly nickname, or the absence of distance between teacher and student... Quite the contrary, the friendly atmosphere created by the teacher, his sensitive and unique teaching approach and his total dedication to the success of his students allowed them to succeed. invest fully in their work, reveal their artistic personality and progress towards the level of excellence that is expected of them, as required by an establishment of this rank. […] Today, [they] only aspire to one thing: to return to the normal course of their student life and find what they largely came to seek at the CNSMDP, namely their professor [15]. »

Jérôme Pernoo appeals to the Paris administrative court for abuse of power, accompanied by an interim suspension [37, 38], and the hearing takes place on November 18, 2021. The director of the CNSMDP does not attend the hearing, is not represented there and does not produce a defense brief [40, 15].

Condemnation of the CNSMDP


On December 7, 2021, the summary judge ruled in favor of Jérôme Pernoo against Émilie Delorme's decision and ordered the immediate suspension of the sanction. The judge considers as established four facts which he describes as faults which could be considered “serious” and deserving sanction (kisses and hugs, spoonerisms, use of nicknames and close relationships with students) [12], but points to the “disproportionate nature” of the sanction pronounced “in relation to the nature of the faults committed”, which makes it manifestly illegal, and requires its suspension until the hearing on the merits.

It also points to “the lack of impartiality of the administrative investigation”, as well as “the irregularity of the composition of the disciplinary council and the procedure followed before this consultative body”. He also condemns the CNSMDP to pay the sum of €2,000 to Jérôme Pernoo [13].

In a press release dated December 8, the CNSMDP announced “to form today the necessary appeals against this decision of the Paris administrative court which in no way prejudges the future judgment on the merits of this case. » This position surprises a certain number of observers who object that no appeal can obstruct the injunction of the summary judge, which is enforceable even in the event of an appeal [13, 40, 41].
The CNSMDP adds in its press release that “several complaints against Jérôme Pernoo have been filed by former students, in the hands of the Paris Public Prosecutor”, without specifying the number, date or content. He is probably referring to an article in Le Parisien from September 24 [42] which mentioned two complaints, while suggesting that neither the prosecution nor the lawyer of one of the supposed complainants confirmed this information. The article was not picked up by any media outlet, not even by Le Parisien himself who, eight days later, questioned Roselyne Bachelot about this affair without mentioning the supposed or proven existence of complaints [43].
On December 13, Le Point still does not obtain confirmation from the lawyer cited by Le Parisien [40], and on December 17, Marianne does not obtain further confirmation from the prosecution [15].
On December 10, 2021, Émilie Delorme brought together, “in disaster” according to one of them, the students of Jérôme Pernoo. She did not announce to them her reinstatement, which they had nevertheless understood, by reading the press, that it was inevitable, which had been a “relief” for them [15]. According to parents' testimonies, Émilie Delorme pretended, during this meeting, to think that the students were upset by this court decision [36]. The director also allegedly made them believe that the decision of the emergency judge was only based on procedural defects [15].

Early end of legal proceedings

That same December 10, Émilie Delorme, finally renouncing to appeal the decision of the administrative court, took note of it and complied with it.
Furthermore, while the judge, at the summary stage and awaiting the hearing on the merits, was only able to order the suspension of the sanction, the director decided to pronounce its annulment, definitive and retroactive. In doing so, it put an end to the legal action initiated by Jérôme Pernoo against the CNSMDP at the administrative court, the hearing on the merits, precisely supposed to rule on the annulment of the sanction, no longer having to take place [40].

New suspension of Jérôme Pernoo

A press release dated December 13 specifies that Émilie Delorme therefore reinstates Jérôme Pernoo in the workforce of the CNSMDP, but decides at the same time to suspend him again for a maximum period of four months, in order to carry out a second internal investigation, entrusted to a “structure other than that which produced the previous one”. The press release does not mention new facts justifying the opening of a second investigation, nor does it specify whether the CNSMDP will be, like the first time, a co-investigator.
The Conservatory indicates that "the judge considered that the grievances against Jérôme Pernoo "can be considered serious" because of the functions he exercises" and motivates the opening of a new investigation by the existence of "criticisms formulated by the summary judge as to the impartiality of the investigation initially carried out by the Egaé agency [15]. »
To “justify this sudden about-face”, the management of the CNSMDP declared to Marianne, as stated above, “that last July, no element in [its] possession allowed [him] to call into question the character impartial internal investigation [9]. » The Conservatory also resumes the mention of complaints against the professor, without giving more details (date, number, content) than in its press release of December 8 [16].



In the columns of Diapason [16], Patrice Spinosi, Jérôme Pernoo's lawyer, expresses his client's “stupefaction” at this new suspension. “However, the decision of the administrative court was clear. The alleged facts with which he is accused cannot justify depriving him of his teaching. » He adds: “This is only a new maneuver as unfair as it is infamous”, and specifies that Mr. Pernoo “will again refer the matter to the administrative judge to initiate compensation action against the Conservatory whose wrongful actions caused considerable harm. The court which already ruled in his favor the first time will have no trouble doing so a second time. »
In Marianne, Patrice Spinosi evokes, regarding Émilie Delorme's decision, a “diversion of procedure” [15].
Students and parents
According to an article in Le Point [40], this decision by Émilie Delorme "gives rise to numerous criticisms, internally and in the world of music, where many supports for the professor continue to be expressed", evoking a "war of attrition" or a "hunt for 'man ".
According to Marianne [36], “these legal maneuvers got the better of the patience of Jérôme Pernoo’s 12 students. » Three of them confided in the weekly [15] and express their exasperation. One relates that the lessons with the substitute "are not going well at all", that a student "aged 15 no longer wants to set foot in class" but that the director, alerted by the parents, does not proposed that addressing “La Troisième Rive, a listening organization, without offering more solutions. » Another criticizes the lack of communication between management and Jérôme Pernoo's class from the start: “We have never been warned since the start of this affair, or else with a delay of one or two weeks. » Another student said he “want to make a report against the management of the Conservatory, but [that] it is difficult. From a hierarchical point of view, we are blocked […] No one in the class is shocked by the spoonerisms, it's the way we are treated that shocks us, we are infantilized! […] With management, trust is completely broken. »

This refusal by Émilie Delorme to reinstate Jérôme Pernoo despite the injunction of the administrative court provokes, according to Diapason [44], the "anger of the musician's supporters, who cry "relentlessness"", and pushes the parents of all his students to send again, on December 21, a letter to the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, including a copy is also sent to Émilie Delorme and another to Stéphane Pallez, president of the board of directors of the CNSMDP [36, 39, 44]. “There seems to us to be a misunderstanding as to the perception, by the management of the Conservatoire, of the opinion of our children,” they wrote. “Our children did not find themselves in Jérôme Pernoo’s class by chance […] they expressly asked to join this teacher’s class rather than that of another [39]. » They continue: “Jérôme Pernoo's students knew his personality before joining the Conservatory, deliberately chose him as a teacher, had no surprises when discovering the reality of his lessons and were never disturbed by his way to interact with them. […] We do not tolerate that we can continue to destroy [the] education of [our children] in this way. […] We therefore call on you once again to ensure that this absurd and exasperating situation is put to an end, […] before the psychological state of our children deteriorates further [36]. »

Coming soon: continuation of the article and updates.

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