An unnamed priest affiliated with the breakaway Catholic sect The Society of St. Pius X has been charged with the 2010 rape and torture of three French schoolteachers during an “exorcism”. Authorities will not name the priest’s name for fear that doing so may identify the victims.
The Society of St. Pius X is a radical traditionalist Catholic splinter group and is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Its members, in turn, reject the authority of the Pope. The Society has faced much criticism over the years from people who consider its teachings anti-Semitic and reactionary: Founder Marcel Lefebvre was vocal in his praise of France’s Vichy government and advocacy for the return of absolute monarchy.
Police say the priest raped three women in the autumn of 2010 after he met them at the private religious school Ecole Notre-Dame-de-la Sablonniere in Goussonville, west of Paris, which he was running at the time, according to French media reports.
For years the women did not come forward to the police and one of them was so traumatized that she couldn’t even describe what had happened to her. The 40-year old priest was charged on Wednesday on charges of cruelty, torture and rape. He is now being held without bail
The cleric had allegedly raped one teacher to purge her of the “evil” of a previous sexual assault and used his “spiritual influence” to convince two other female teachers to experience similar exorcisms.
While being interrogated earlier this week the priest allegedly told detectives that he had only “simulated” the sexual acts, which the victims claimed were acts of torture using a broom, a toothbrush and some scissors.