French priest jailed for sexual abuse

Nuns walk near St. Peter's Square, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. (AP)
Updated 02 February 2019

French priest jailed for sexual abuse

  • The priest will have to undergo psychological treatment, which he has already started, according to his lawyers

COLMAR, France: A French priest was Friday sentenced to five years, two without parole, for sexually assaulting four young female parishioners, one of whom was just nine when the offenses started, and embezzling 100,000 euros ($115,000) to pay one of his victims.
The trial was held behind closed doors at Colmar Criminal Court, in northeast France, which publicly announced the sentence late Friday.
The 60-year-old cleric, who will have to spend at least two years behind bars and be under restrictions for the rest of his term, could have faced up to 10 years in prison.
The priest will also have to undergo psychological treatment, which he has already started, according to his lawyers.
Under the judgment, he is forbidden from contacting his victims or any activity involving minors. He is also barred from staying in the Alsace region, where the offenses were committed.
His sentence was lighter than that sought by the public prosecutor, who had asked for four years in prison followed by three years under a supervision order.
The trial was held behind closed doors at the request of three of the four victims, who were minors at the start of the offenses, the youngest just nine.
The attacks, which continued after three of the victims were adults, took place between 2001 and 2006 and between 2011 and 2016.
The priest, who was remanded in custody for three months at the start of the case in September 2016, “bitterly regrets the crimes that he has acknowledged (...) and offers his apology to the victims and to people (...) injured by such intolerable acts,” his lawyer Thierry Moser said in a statement.
He had admitted to having diverted more than 100,000 euros in money destined for the Church and transferred it to one of the victims, then an adult, in exchange for sexual favors.
In total, he paid her more than 240,000 euros, including a portion of his personal wealth.
The victim, now 29, had been charged with “concealment of breach of trust” but was released after the court found there was insufficient evidence to prove she knew the source of the money.
France’s Catholic Church has been roiled in recent years by claims against priests which have come to light in the wake of a global move by victims of abuse to come forward with evidence.


France teacher’s killer had ‘contact’ with militant in Syria

Updated 23 October 2020

France teacher’s killer had ‘contact’ with militant in Syria

  • Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib

PARIS: The investigation into the murder in France of a teacher for showing caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in class turned to Syria on Thursday, where the killer had a militant contact, a source close to the case said.
Seven people have been charged with being complicit in a “terrorist murder” after 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov killed Samuel Paty on Friday, including two teenagers who helped him identify the teacher.
France paid homage to Paty on Wednesday, with President Emmanuel Macron saying that the history and geography teacher had been slain by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.
In their search for accomplices, anti-terror investigators have now established that Anzorov had contact with a Russian-speaking militant in Syria whose identity is not yet known, the source told AFP.
Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a militant holdout in northwestern Syria.
In an audio message in Russian immediately after the killing, translated by AFP, Anzorov said that he had “avenged the Prophet” whom the teacher had shown “in an insulting way.”
The message was published on social media in a video, accompanied by two tweets, one showing the victim’s severed head and another in which Anzorov confessed to the murder.
Moments later he was shot dead by police. Anzorov decapitated Paty with a long knife.
Many of Paty’s students saw the images online before they could be taken down.
The teenagers who pointed out Paty to his killer in return for money were late Wednesday charged over the killing.

HIGHLIGHT

Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a militant holdout in northwestern Syria.

The parent of one of Paty’s pupils, who started the social media campaign against the teacher even though his daughter was not in class when the cartoons were shown, was also charged.
Also charged was a known extremist radical who helped the father stir up outrage against Paty.
The other three facing prosecution are friends of Anzorov, one of whom allegedly drove him to the scene of the crime while another accompanied him to purchase a weapon.
Two of them also face c harges of being complicit in terrorist murder while the third was charged with a lesser offense, the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said.
Paty, 47, became the target of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material — the same images which unleashed a bloody assault by gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
Police have carried out dozens of raids since the crime, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris and dissolved the Sheikh Yassin Collective, a group they said supported Hamas.
The French government has earmarked for dissolution more than 50 other organizations it accuses of having links with extremists.
Paty’s beheading was the second knife attack since a trial of alleged accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack started last month.
The killing has prompted an outpouring of emotion in France, with tens of thousands taking part in rallies countrywide in defense of free speech and the right to mock religion.
“We will not give up cartoons,” Macron vowed at a ceremony Wednesday in Paty’s honor at the Sorbonne university in Paris.