A French bishop is accused of attempted rape in latest scandal to hit Catholic Church in France

PARIS — A French bishop has been given a preliminary cost of trying to rape an grownup man a decade in the past, the Paris prosecutor’s workplace stated Monday. It’s the newest of a rising variety of accusations of sexual abuse by clergy in France.

The Bishops’ Convention of France stated the accused bishop, Georges Colomb, contests the cost and deserves the presumption of innocence. He has requested the Vatican to step except for his duties as bishop of La Rochelle and Saintes in western France to arrange his protection.

French investigative web site Mediapart reported that senior figures within the Catholic Church have been conscious of the accusations for years.

The allegations did not attain prosecutors till Could of this 12 months. That is when legal professionals for the Archdiocese of Paris and a Catholic group referred to as the Overseas Missions of Paris, shortened to MEP in French, submitted a report of a rape try by Colomb in 2013, in response to the prosecutor’s workplace.

Colomb headed the MEP from 2010 to 2016, and his accuser was staying in MEP services on the time of the incident, in response to French media studies. Colomb grew to become a bishop in 2016.

On account of the following investigation, Colomb was detained for questioning final week and magistrates filed a preliminary cost on Friday, the prosecutor’s workplace stated. Colomb is underneath judicial supervision and barred from contact with the sufferer or witnesses pending additional investigation.

His accuser has not been publicly named. After the alleged rape try, the person spoke about what occurred to a different official within the MEP, Gilles Reithinger.

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Reithinger informed public broadcaster France-3 that the person stated Colomb proposed an oil therapeutic massage that made him uncomfortable however didn’t point out any sexual wrongdoing. Reithinger, now bishop of Strasbourg, stated he raised the problem with Colomb’s superior on the time however didn’t see any purpose to report the incident to prosecutors.

The bishops’ convention stated in a press release Monday that it expresses its concern for the alleged sufferer, and provided assist for ‘’all those that are troubled or harm by this information.’’

A lawyer for Colomb didn’t reply to request for remark.

France is coming to phrases with many years of covered-up abuse by church-related figures amid a worldwide reckoning over the problem.

France’s bishops’ convention agreed to supply reparations after a 2021 report estimated some 330,000 youngsters have been sexually abused over 70 years by monks or different church-related figures within the nation. The estimates have been based mostly on broader analysis by France’s Nationwide Institute of Well being and Medical Analysis into sexual abuse of kids.

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