The Another

    Investigation underway after sexual assault allegations against Catholic French priest



    At a Mass on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

    Each new case reminds those who thought the crisis of sexual violence in the Church had passed, or was on its way to passing, that it hasn’t. Catholics were shocked to learn on Sunday, April 16, that the parish priest of Saint-Germain de Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis, northeastern Paris region) had been suspended from his position, according to a press release from the Paris Diocese and Scouts and Guides de France (the country’s largest Scouting association). Between 1993 and 2002, Jacques Gagey allegedly assaulted young women who were of age at the time of the events. On Monday, April 17, the Paris public prosecutor’s office confirmed a report in the French daily The cross that the priest is under criminal investigation.

    In addition to being under a canonical inquisition, he was also placed under conservatory measures until the investigation was complete. He has been stripped of his confessional faculties, been barred from serving Mass, and prohibited from contacting the alleged victims, among other things. While suspended from his Pantin mission, he is also obliged to reside in Paris in accommodation provided by the Diocese, where he is from originally and which he left in September 2022 to serve in Saint-Denis.

    Read more French prosecutors drop sexual assault probe into cardinal

    After three years of renovations, Gagey was slated to inaugurate the parish church on Saturday, April 15. By suspending him at this time, he avoided embarrassing photos where he would have been seen posing with the bishop of Saint-Denis. A report submitted to the public prosecutor by the Diocese of Paris dates back to November 2022, meaning the allegations were made several years ago.

    Per a source close to the case, the first victim came forward in 2018, submitting testimony to the France Victime platform. In 2019, a second victim reported facts that could be considered sexual assault directly to the Diocese of Paris. A third victim approached them in Paris in 2020, while a fourth contacted the Conférence des Évêques de France (French Bishops’ Conference, CEF).

    A timeline that raises questions

    At the time of the events, Gagey was a parish priest in Paris, having returned from Rome in 2021 after spending several years there. He served as Chaplain General for the Scouts et Guides de France from 1994 to 2014, before being appointed to the Conférence Internationale Catholique du Scoutisme (CICS) at the Holy See in 2014. Pantin was his first assignment upon his return in 2022.

    It’s a timeline that raises questions. Firstly, despite the fact that the allegations were known, the transfer was still made. Then, there’s the fact that the report to the public prosecutor’s office appears to have been made very late. The age of the presumed victims, all of whom were adults at the time of the events, may explain the situation. There is a gap in understanding among the Church about the sexual violence that occurs within its walls. It appears that assaults, especially when they occur in the context of a relationship between a clergyman and a person of age, which is known as a “hold,” poses a greater problem for the institution than violence committed against minors.

    You have 33.38% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.

    Source link