TESTIMONY – Victim of a pedophile priest in Alsace: "he asked me to masturbate and tell him"



Joséphine (*) was between the ages of 13 and 16, at the end of the 1960s. She came from a loving and loving family in this village of Haut-Rhin, a faithful Catholic, a practicing practitioner: an ordinary family. Josephine was responsible for distributing the parish bulletin. His parents urged him to see the priest regularly, thinking of his well-being and upbringing.

"He talked to me about masturbation, sex, I did not understand"

What his parents could not imagine was that the preacher abused his status and privileged relationship to abuse the girl. Many times. There has never been penetration. But touch and a form of moral and sexual harassment. "He took me on his lap, stroked me, touched me everywhere, he asked me to go to the house to shower, masturbate, and then tell him what it was like to have an effect." He claimed to give me life. learn. & # 39;

Josephine describes herself as still a child at that time, naïve, very surrounded and protected. He was talking to me about things I did not understand, sex, masturbation. I went home and I looked in the dictionary to find out what it meant. I had fallen a bit from the dream of stuffed animals and teddy … to that … "

Josephine, at home.
Josephine, at home. "The whole neighborhood knew that I was going through a teenage crisis."

this one innocence was stolen from him."When he could meet me, he did it. He was looking for contact. He approached me, he was sweaty.She often detested him, escaping. But his malaise grew. Because they did not understand the situation, for lack of explanation, Josephine's parents did not understand her growing rejection of the Church.

"When she felt disturbed, my mother sent me to the priest, it was mainly because I did not want to go, then there were terrible conflicts at home, because she did not understand that I reacted like that. at the church, I distributed the parish bulletin to everyone, the elderly gave me chocolate bars, I waited everywhere, everyone asked me, so my mother did not understand my refusal. " The priest also often called home, used his influence to bring her back to the presbytery.

Hellish spiral

Despite his aversion, it is difficult to fight against the pastor's psychological grip. "He let me know, he told me that if I talked about that, I would burn in hell, I had horrible nightmares because of the horrors he told me." Josephine had to pay for the sins of her confessor. She had to pray for his soul, because according to him he was the incarnation of satan, she who dragged him to perversion.

Unable to come out of this hellish spiral, unable to speak: "I'd rather die than talk about it, he completely checked me." The girl is increasingly worried about her parents, who multiply the child psychiatry consultations. the repeated stays in psychiatry, in Colmar than in Strasbourg: an extra trauma. Josephine wanted to die. She was kept alive per tube because she refused food, but the psychiatrists thought she would not get away with it.

At the baptism of Josephine's niece. She can not see his eyes right next to her assailant. / © delivered document
At the baptism of Josephine's niece. She can not see his eyes right next to her assailant. / © delivered document

She nonetheless finds the strength to live, partly seeing the suffering of her parents. At the age of 16 she leaves the parental home and the village to settle in Strasbourg. Despite a strong aversion to men, she manages to start a family. But it is only 10 years after her marriage, at the age of 40, that she will speak these touches for the first time, both for her husband and for her father. This is not so surprised that. Warned by the psychological concerns of his daughter, but also by rumors circulating in the parish. It seems that many girls in the village have fallen victim to the individual. The priest has practiced for more than 25 years. Nobody has broken the silence.

Why this silence?

Josephine continued to meet his attacker on a regular basis. "Every time I squeezed her hand, I washed my hands more than ten times after my return, and I could not stand sweaty hands. & # 39; So why so? S silence? "We did not talk about it during that time." Even parents who were made aware by their children would not see the police, for fear of saying this, for fear of the influence of the church in society. The priest could make or break a career, we do not resist the priest. The word of children did not have much value, compared to that, respected, of the man of the church.

The priest thus continued to exercise in peace of mind. It was not long before there was a chance that he was not officially at Josephine's marriage. He died about ten years ago without ever being the subject of an investigation or prosecution.

Josephine had already confided Monsignor Grallet, the former archbishop of Strasbourg, two years ago and had found a listening ear. His successor, Monsignor Ravel, has taken a new step. In his pastoral letter of September 2018 he asked for pardon for all victims. And while listening to one of her speeches, Josephine noticed that her illness did not come up. Violent vomiting, after several nights of insomnia Josephine decides to reveal her story. To get rid of this weight. And to allow other victims to liberate.

The Archbishop of Strasbourg believes a thirty or more of the number of priests involved in cases of sexual abuse since 1948 in the diocese of Alsace.

© Grégory Fraize
© Grégory Fraize

(*) the first name has been changed, at the request of the victim.


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