The victims who unmasked child sex abuse scandal in Catholic Church in France

By Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martiniere et Mathieu Périsse

In recent weeks a paedophilia scandal has engulfed the diocese of Lyon in eastern France. A Catholic priest is said to have abused dozens of boy scouts who were in his care, while the cardinal at the head of the diocese has been forced to deny covering up the affair. The scandal came to light largely thanks to the work of a group of victims who joined together and set up an association to break the silence surrounding the abuse. In the space of just three months this group has brought to light not just the scandal in Lyon, but has also unearthed other potential affairs. Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martinière and Mathieu Périsse report.

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Bertrand Virieux is cut off in mid-sentence when his mobile phone rings. He looks quickly at the identity of the caller then hangs up and resumes the thread of his argument. “I was saying that Father Preynat was really a charismatic personality, everyone thought he was beyond reproach.” He is interrupted again when an incoming email makes his phone vibrate. He puts his phone in silent mode and smiles: “It's been like this every day for the past few weeks.”