Fundamentalist French Catholic Priest Arrested for Torture, Rape During ‘Exorcisms’
A French priest from an ultra-conservative Catholic sect has been arrested and charged with raping and torturing three schoolteachers while performing ‘exorcisms.’
Agence France-Presse reports the 40-year-old priest, who belongs to the Society of St. Pius X, is not being named in order to protect his alleged victims. Versailles prosecutor Vincent Lesclous announced that the fundamentalist priest was arrested and charged on Wednesday.
The French news site Tout Les Nouvelles reported the priest ran the Ecole Notre-Dame-de-la-Sablonnière in Goussonville, 52 km (32 miles) west of Paris. The alleged crimes occurred at the school in the autumn of 2010.
Prosecutors allege the priest raped a teacher during a so-called ‘exorcism,’ or supernatural expulsion of “demons” and other “evil spirits.” The alleged victim, who had suffered a previous sexual assault by another man, was allegedly told by the priest that he was purging the “evil” from the previous attack.
He then allegedly used his “spiritual influence” to convince two other female schoolteachers to undergo ‘exorcisms,’ and attacked them as well.
One of the women claims the priest tortured and raped her with a broom, a toothbrush and scissors during the ‘exorcism’ ceremony.
Under police questioning, the priest denied having tortured or raped the women, claiming the sex acts were only “simulated.”
The Society of St. Pius X is a fundamentalist sect founded in 1970 in opposition to the liberal reforms instituted by Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. Boasting more than 600,000 followers in 62 nations, the far-right group has been widely accused of anti-Semitism, even by other Catholics.