French Priest Accused of Sexual Assault Commits Suicide

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FRANCE – A Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct in France committed suicide last week.

Father Pierre-Yves Fumery was 38 years old. He was found in his residence in Gien this past weekend. Last week, police had questioned Father Fumery about allegations of sexual assault involving a child under the age of fifteen.

Bishop Jacques Blaquart, the bishop of Orléans, whose diocese includes Gien, said it was a “moment of suffering and a tragic ordeal,” according to AFP.

Bishop Blaquart mentioned several complaints against Father Fumery towards children between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. One example Bishop Blaquart shared was of a girl “that he took into his arms and drove home several times”.

The diocese asked Father Fumery to take a leave of absence after the police questioned him about the allegations. He had returned from the leave of absence on October 8, but hadn’t resumed his duties at the parish.

Father Fumery joined the parish at the end of 2017. He was ordained a priest in 2014 after he spent time studying law.

Father Fumery is the second French priest to commit suicide in the past month after being accused of sexual assault. Father Jean-Baptiste Sebe committed suicide in the French town of Rouen after being accused of “indecent behavior and sexual assault.”

In Father Sebe’s case, the initial complaint of misconduct was brought to the archbishop and “police were not notified prior to the suicide, a source reported.

“Why, Jean-Baptiste? Why such a rapid and brutal departure?” Father Christophe Potel, who worked for several years with Father Sebe, asked at the beginning of the funeral Mass held for Father Sebe.

But this question “will not receive a satisfying response here on this earth,” he said.

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