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I could tell she was dead. So I carried her into the garden... So I could make love to her.
~ Rousseau admitting to violating Jean Gallagher's corpse.

Professor James Henri Rousseau is the main antagonist of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Sophomore Jinx". He is a literature professor who becomes obsessed with one of his students and has sex with her corpse after witnessing her accidental death.

He was portrayed by Lothaire Bluteau.


Early Life

Originally from France, Rousseau emigrated to New York City in 1976 to attend St. Raymond's University, where he was a member of a fraternity. That year, he sexually assaulted a drunk girl at a party, but the university hushed up the incident to avoid bad press. He later became a literature professor at St. Raymond's.

He became obsessed with one of his students, Jeanne Gallagher, and began stalking her; she complained to the university chaplain, Abbot McCourt, who made sure that there was no investigation of Rousseau's behavior. When Jeanne is raped by the university's star basketball player Riley Cougar, Rousseau's obsession with her intensifies, as he now believes her to be a "fallen angel" whom only he can save.

"Sophomore Jinx"

When Gallagher is found raped and murdered on campus, the university closes ranks to protect Cougar and teammate Chuck Mosely, whom the Special Victims Unit detectives regard as suspects. Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler interview Rousseau, who steers suspicion toward Mosely, who had been having a casual affair with Jeanne. Benson and Stabler also talk to McCourt, whose refusal to talk about Rousseau's past at the university makes them suspicious.

After clearing Mosley and charging Cuogar with Jeanne's earlier rape but not her murder, the SVU detectives begin to take a closer look at Rousseau. They find out about the assault he committed in 1976, and learn from her roommate that he had been stalking her. Forensic examination finds that Jeanne's skull had been cracked after being thrown up against cement that could only have come from St. Raymond's campus. Benson and Stabler use this information to get a warrant to search Rousseau's house, where they find that he had rearranged his schedule to match Jeanne's so he could stalk her. Now having probable cause, they arrest Rousseau for Jeanne's murder while he is in the middle of teaching a class.

While interrogating Rousseau, Benson demands to know why he killed Jeanne. Rousseau replies that he had spied on Jeanne and Mosley having drunk sex, and saw Jeanne fall off a ledge and crack her skull. Rousseau knew immediately that she was dead, but was still obsessed with her, so he carried her into the university's community garden and "made love" to her corpse. Disgusted, McCourt washes his hands of Rousseau, telling him that the university will not pay his legal fees. Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael makes a deal with Rousseau's lawyer: in return for dropping the murder charge, Rousseau will plead guilty to sexual abuse of a corpse, obstruction of justice, and disturbing a crime scene. She then tells Rousseau that each charge carries a sentence of one year, and that he will serve them consecutively.

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