French Catholic Church in new sex abuse scandal centred on ‘psychoanalyst’ priest

By Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martiniere et Mathieu Périsse

Over recent months, the French Catholic Church has become engulfed by revelations of paedophile activity by priests who allegedly benefited from protection from their hierarchy. Wide exposure of the cases, some dating back to the 1990s, has led to more witnesses coming forward to complain of sexual abuse by members of the Church. Among the latest cases to resurface now is that of a Paris priest who allegedly engaged for years in the sexual abuse of patients he received as a psychoanalyst. Mediapart can reveal that Tony Anatrella, an advisor to two Vatican councils and who teaches at a prestigious ecclesiastic college in Paris, has never been investigated by the Church despite numerous complaints made against him since 2001. Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martiniere and Mathieu Périsse report.

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The thought of passing by the psychoanalysis practice situated on the Place de la Nation, a huge square in south-east Paris, filled Fabien (whose real name is withheld here) with anguish to the point that he left the city to begin a new life elsewhere. “At the end of the therapy, I was blocked,” he recalled. “I can’t ride a bike anymore. I had the impression that my body was consuming itself and I regularly took cold showers.”