A 38-year-old French priest in a town in northern France committed suicide in his church after being accused of molesting a girl, local prosecutors and police sources told AFP on Wednesday.
Jean-Baptiste Sebe killed himself on Tuesday in the church in Rouen amid allegations from a local mother that her daughter had been a victim of “indecent behaviour and sexual assault,” a police source said.
The man was 38 years old. He has been a member of the Saint-Jean XXIII church since September 2013, as indicated on the website of the Rouen diocese.
As a holder of a DEUG history, he was ordained a priest in 2005. According to Bishop Lebrun, Jean-Baptiste Sebe knew “a difficult moment”. But the archbishop also entrusted his “incomprehension” in his letter in the face of a final gesture.
Local prosecutor Etienne Thieffry confirmed that an investigation was underway into “the exact reasons for the suicide” at the St. Jean XXIII church.
The Catholic Church has been shaken by a string of paedophile scandals over the past 25 years.
It was rocked worldwide in August by a devastating US report on child sex abuse which accused over 300 “predator” priests of abusing more than 1,000 minors over seven decades in the state of Pennsylvania.
The most senior French Catholic cleric to be caught up in scandal is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who is to go on trial in January 2019 for allegedly covering up for a priest accused of abusing boy scouts in the Lyon area in the 1980s.