Ex Priest in France Is Convicted of Abusing Dozens of Scouts

NY Times March 16, 2020

Rob’s View

So the Catholic Church in France is now absorbing blows of compensation for their crimes of sexually abusing children and the culture of silence and cover-up about abuse allegations over a long period of time. In this case it is the conviction many years later of a French Priest named Bernard Preynat who committed many sexual abuse crimes and had seemed to have slipped from the noose of justice. 

If you had known him during his period of successful criminality you might have felt it was proof that the oft-quoted saying, “What Goes Around Comes Around” was not true! That it was not anything you need worry about when it came to your own choices. 

It is a fascinating set-up (by who or what we know not), that throws people off. The seemingly unpredictable time-lapse that intervenes between crime and punishment, how varied those intervals can appear, and how some of the worst offenders seem to escape scrutiny altogether challenge our belief. 

This book says those words are a Principle of life and physics, the same as gravity, electricity and the turning of the tides. Further, that we may avoid much hardship by understanding them as a guide for how to live our own life. Father Preynat did not do so. He was a Priest in the perfect position to do much good. But he chose to use that position in another way. He lost a great opportunity and now he will learn the hard way how true those words are.

Father Preynat thought he had the best deal going and would always be protected from detection just like all the Priests before him seemed to do. In fact it did seem like that would be the case for a long time. Its what draws us in and throws us off. It is part of the physics and how we are challenged to plant the right seeds. 

He admitted in his trial that as a BoyScout Chaplain in the 70’s and 80’s he abused two boys almost every weekend and as many as four or five a week on camp outings. Now at seventy-five years old, convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting dozens of Boy Scouts he may learn otherwise.  

Attention also focused on one of France’s highest-ranking clergymen, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, then the archbishop of Lyon. He had become Praynat’s supervisor after the abuse had ceased. But though he learned about it afterwards, he failed to report it as required. His resignation was recently accepted by the Pope.

It has been reported that an independent commission in France has heard from thousands of people reporting such cases and a report will be issued in 2021.

~ Rob


Bernard Preynat in court in Lyon. Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP via Getty Images

Ex Priest in France Is Convicted of Abusing Dozens of Scouts

 

NY Times By March 16, 2020

PARIS — A former Roman Catholic priest in France was convicted and sentenced on Monday to five years in prison for sexually assaulting dozens of Boy Scouts several decades ago, in a case that embroiled a top cardinal in the country’s growing reckoning with clerical sexual abuse.

The former priest, Bernard Preynat, 75, was found guilty by a court in Lyon, in central France, according to his lawyer, Frédéric Doyez. Prosecutors had asked for an eight-year sentence, slightly less than the maximum 10 years for such offenses.

The hearing for the verdict was held behind closed doors in Lyon after the French authorities enforced new restrictions on public gatherings because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus epidemic.

Pierre Emmanuel Germain-Thill, one of Mr. Preynat’s victims, told Agence France-Presse that the sentence was “correct” given the former priest’s age.

“I am very relieved by this ruling,” Mr. Germain-Thill said. “We want to turn the page of this affair and continue to build our lives.”

Mr. Doyez, the lawyer, said in an email that he was considering an appeal but that it was ultimately Mr. Preynat’s decision. Under French law, Mr. Preynat has 10 days to appeal the conviction.

Mr. Preynat was accused of using his position as a Boy Scout leader to sexually abuse dozens of boys from the 1970s to the 1990s. A church tribunal pronounced him guilty of the abuse last year and stripped him of his clerical status.

At the criminal trial, held in January, Mr. Preynat admitted to some of the abuse and asked for forgiveness, testifying that as a scout chaplain he had abused as many as two boys “almost every weekend” and as many as four or five a week on camp outings — although he said he did not remember some of the specific acts that the victims had accused him of.

“For me, at the time, I was not committing acts of sexual assault but caresses, cuddles,” Mr. Preynat said at trial, according to news reports. “I was wrong.”

Many of the accusations against Mr. Preynat were past the statute of limitations, and only a few of victims were plaintiffs. But the case against him, which first emerged in 2015, led to a much wider indictment in France of the Catholic Church’s culture of silence about sexual abuse allegations.

Attention quickly focused on Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, then the archbishop of Lyon — one of France’s highest-ranking clergymen.

Ex Priest in France Is Convicted of Abusing Dozens of Scouts
Credit…Jeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 

Although the abuse occurred before Cardinal Barbarin was appointed to his post in the Lyon Diocese in 2002, some of Mr. Preynat’s victims accused the cardinal of having failed to report the allegations to the authorities when they were brought to his attention. During his trial, Mr. Preynat testified that senior church officials had been aware of the abuse but had done nothing to remove him from office.

Cardinal Barbarin later acknowledged that he had heard about the abuse as early as 2010, but he said that he had personally questioned Mr. Preynat at the time and had left him in office after receiving assurances that no abuse had occurred since 1991. Mr. Preynat was removed from office in August 2015.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Cardinal Barbarin in 2016 after an investigation, but some of Mr. Preynat’s accusers used a special procedure to force the cardinal to stand trial.

The cardinal was found guilty last year of failing to report the abuse, but was acquitted in January on appeal. His resignation was accepted by Pope Francis this month.

During his trial, Mr. Preynat said for the first time that he had himself been the victim of abuse by clergymen in his youth, though lawyers for some of the plaintiffs said that they were skeptical of that last-minute allegation, calling it yet another lie from a man who for years had evaded punishment for his crimes.

An independent commission created by the Bishops’ Conference of France to shed light on sexual abuse by the country’s clergy has already heard from thousands of people reporting such cases, and a report is expected in 2021.

 


Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“A stable, positive, non-preachy, objective voice makes the manual stand apart from others in the genre.  A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Ex Priest in France Is Convicted of Abusing Dozens of Scouts

Ex Priest in France Is Convicted of Abusing Dozens of Scouts