A 48-year-old former Catholic priest was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison by the criminal court of Saint-Denis de La Réunion for rape and sexual assault on a mother and her minor son.
This sentence is accompanied by 5 years of socio-judicial follow-up, a ban on working in contact with minors and registration in the automated judicial file of perpetrators of sexual or violent offenses (Fijais).
The prosecution had requested 15 years in prison.
The facts occurred between 2013 and 2015, but were not revealed until 2017, when a young student confided in the university chaplain, indicating that he had been the victim of several sexual assaults committed by the priest Catholic officiating in the Plaine des Palmistes, a village in the east of the island.
The young man was 14 when the assaults began and was an altar boy at the time.
“An important influence on the faithful”
During the investigation opened by the Saint-Denis prosecutor's office, the young man's mother revealed that she had also been sexually assaulted by the priest.
The man of the Church, dismissed from his post since, “has an extremely strong personality” and “an important influence on the faithful”, commented the prosecutor Éric Tuffery during his indictment for rape and sexual assault.
The defendant had admitted the facts at the end of his police custody by declaring that the victims were consenting.
He reiterated this claim in criminal court.
At the end of the trial, Nicolas Normand, lawyer for the former priest, declared that his client did not plan to appeal.
In January 2013, the former parish priest of Bras-Panon (east of the island) was found guilty of a series of assaults on a dozen young boys between 1989 and 1995 and in 2009. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
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