“Four gold, five children per week”: the confessions glaçants of a former French priest

For twenty years, ” it was happening every weekend, and during the camps, this could be four gold, five children in one week “: the trial of the ex-priest Bernard Preynat, whose shares pedophiles hidden by the Church in France have triggered a scandal, began on Tuesday, more than 30 years after the fact.”

“For me, at the time, I was committing not sexual assault, aim fondling, hugs. I was wrong. This makes me understand, what are the expenses of the victims “, she defends the former priest 74 years of age at his trial for assault pedophiles committed between 1971 and 1991, while he officiated as vicar-chaplain scout in Sainte-Foy-Lès-Lyon (center-east).

The former priest, now 74 years old, was appearing for offences committed between 1971 and 1991, when the victims were aged 7 to 15 years.

Bernard Preynat, then vicar-chaplain scout of Sainte-Foy-Les-Lyon, near Lyon, was at the time the admiration of the parents of the diocese, who entrusted him with their children, in his parish or in camps abroad.

This is not until 2015 that a number of former boy scouts break the silence and accuses Preynat before the justice of touching, kissing on the mouth and fondling mutual constraints, in particular on grounds of sex.

These actions had been overlooked by the Church of France, provoking the condemnation of the cardinal Philippe Barbarin, in march 2019, a six-month suspended prison sentence. The latter was found guilty of not having informed the justice and maintained the priest serving in the diocese until 2015, while Bernard Preynat was passed to confess to his superiors as early as 1991.

Now in withdrawal of the diocese – his resignation was refused by the pope – cardinal Barbarin is waiting in the wings, the decision of the court of appeal on his file. It will be released on 30 January.

“I knew these actions were prohibited, of the caresses that I would not have had to do. Moreover, it was in secret, ” admits Bernard Preynat, very right to the bar, arms along the body and the voice a little broken. “And it brought me sexual pleasure necessarily “.

In the margin of the hearing, ms. Emmanuelle Haziza, the lawyer of one of the victims, Pierre-Emmanuel Germain-Thill, considers to be ” facing the biggest sexual predator of the region. At the same time, he denies the sexual nature of what he has done to the kids, goal admits to having hundreds and hundreds of children “.

At the bar, the accusé refers to ” four gold, five children in one week “.

“It’s been almost a child per day “, notes the president Anne-Sophie Martinet.

“Absolute power “

François Devaux, one of the victims of Preynat and co-founder of the association of free Speech admits: “the moment that I screw up there, at the trial, this is the hardest I’ve experienced since the beginning of the case.” Before talking about the “hell” he was living next to his parents (the only ones to have alerted the church authorities on the acts suffered by their son), her whole family, ” violence “, who lived his teenage years as ” very difficult, very complicated “.

For the first time, François Devaux also speaks of his ” suicide attempt “. “Before, I think, I was a child of light. After that, I lived a life very dark (…) flirting with something very dangerous “.

“Suffering, anger… Whatever the decision of this trial, the prejudice, the trauma suffered in my childhood will continues. My responsibility is that it does not happen again “, is the one who, with The Word Released, managed to bring the archbishop of Lyon Philippe Barbarin to justice for his silence on the acts of Preynat.

Ten civil parties, out of the 35 victims heard during the survey, are incorporated in the trial, many of the facts being statute barred.

The ex-parish priest reduced to the lay state at the end of his canonical trial last summer, faces up to 10 years imprisonment.