The case comes to light at the very moment when the episcopal conference, meeting in Lourdes, is considering the follow-up to be given to the Ciase report on child crime in the Church. Several regional media have just revealed that the head of establishment and teacher of a Catholic school in Jurançon, at the gates of Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), had been indicted at the end of October, for rape and sexual assault on minors. This indictment follows seven complaints filed by families in April 2021.
The parents concerned report physical violence and bullying. At least two complaints relate to sexual abuse allegedly suffered by 4-year-old boys, pupils of the same class in the small and middle section. Some accusations refer to “Scalped penises” and of “Finger in the buttocks” during the passage of the children to the toilets, confirms the lawyer of the teacher, Me Ana Raina, who however invites “With the greatest caution”.
→ MAINTENANCE. Sexual abuse in the Church, the terrible past of Catholic education
In a press release, the Pau prosecutor Cécile Gensac herself mentions the “Fragility of the file”, which according to her justifies the absence, for the time being, of coercive measures and even of prohibition to exercise his profession.It’s about “To objectify the denunciations made by very young children while the chronology of the facts in their report to the judicial authority did not make it possible to implement all the recommendations of the open-question hearing protocol and that of significant inconsistencies remain ”, she says.
On sick leave since April
The teacher and director “Formally disputes the facts”, assures Me Ana Raina. “Experienced”, in her fifties, she arrived the same year at Saint-Joseph school, from which she perhaps “Shaken up habits by showing themselves to be demanding and rigorous”. The investigation revealed strong tensions between the person concerned and part of the teaching team.
“Members of the staff had been able to reproach him with an excess of authoritarianism”, reports a source close to the case. “In any case, no similar fact was known to her in the diocese where she worked previously”, ensures the congregation of the Brothers of the Christian schools, which exercises the supervision over the establishment.
This head of establishment was first heard under the status of assisted witness. “Recently, an examining magistrate newly assigned to the cabinet proceeded to a new hearing and decided on the change of status of the defendant who was then indicted”, specifies the prosecutor. On sick leave, the director and teacher has not returned to her school since last April.