“It touched me like a savage”: the victims of a former French priest testify


“It speaks of caresses. My wife is my caress. To him, it was just masturbation; it touched me as a wild, being indignant at the helm, a victim of the ex-priest, the French Bernard Preynat, held in Lyon (center-east) for multiple sexual assaults on children.


“I was dropping my shorts, touch me sex, me masturbait, forced me to masturbate, and asked me to sometimes masturbate… I was going back to rub against me,” says Wednesday before the correctional court Stéphane Hoarau, who was 8 years old at the time of the facts.


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.



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This is not until 2015 that a number of former boy scouts break the silence and accuses Preynat to justice. 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.


According to Stéphane Hoarau, the young prey Preynat followed one after another, sometimes in the same room. Called by the priest, under the pretext grouping of the help to something (a mode of operation common in him), he recalls having crossed by arriving a little boy, eye contact, head low, coming out of a room where there was Preynat.


“I really got the impression that he had done the same thing to me,” he says.


“I’m not born under a lucky star “, said Mr. Hoarau, placed at the age of 4 years in the family home after having already been the victim of a sexual predator in his family circle. It had been written by her foster family in the scouts of the group of Bernard Preynat for ” the crop “.


What harvest, it is repeated sexual assaults. It will complaint in April 2016 after long years of silence.


After the scouts, to follow other galleys, families, homes, homes for young workers and “updated” the street ” at 18 years old.


Since then, ” I’m married “. “I have children, but I have a lot of trouble to touch them “, he says, attributing his difficulties to cuddle the trauma experienced in his childhood, under the influence of the ” father Bernard “. “Such reticence, there is a cause and effect relationship with what happened to me.”


Horrible ” flashes “


Another victim testifies horrible “flashes” when she changes the diaper of her twins, the little boys of two years old.


“Visions come back to me. Fears come back to me, ” the voice choked Stéphane Sylvester, who has filed a complaint in 2015. “While changing a child, it is very far from the caresses on the sex” of Preynat. Purpose ” I was afraid of becoming myself year abuse “.


He remembers touching the ex-priest, especially in the offices on the first floor of the church of Saint Luke. When Preynat the agressait, ” he could talk about scouting, completely at odds with what he was doing to me. I say this now with my vision of the adult, ” said Mr. Sylvester.


“I wanted to leave the scouts, and when I was finally able to leave, I leaned and collapsed along the wall.


His parents are surprised and Stéphane finally speaks: “a man cam up to me stroked him; he put his hand in my shorts. “ Fortunately, my parents believed me immediately and it helped me a lot. ” “At the time, I had the impression to be the only victim “.


When it is abused, “there is a stooge in a body that no longer belongs to us,” he says, throat tight.


In the Face of his victims, Bernard Preynat, since the start of his trial Tuesday, recognizes partially the facts and their request for forgiveness. “I regret having made him miserable,” said the old priest, 74 years after the powerful testimony of Mr. Sylvester.


“I was very far from all the abuse, thank God ! “, he exclaimed, a little earlier, in response to the president of the court which highlighted his part of ” a multiplicity of acts on multiple children for twenty years.”


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

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