French Priest Charged Over Alleged Gay Date-Rape With Minor

The men had sex, but the boy felt ill afterwards and alerted friends. (Representational)

Paris:

A priest working in northwest France has been charged after being accused of drugging and raping a 15-year-old he met via a gay dating app, prosecutors and legal sources said Thursday.

The priest from a rural parish near Rennes has been charged with aggravated rape and administering drugs to a minor after arranging a meeting in Paris last week on the app Grindr.

The 50-something clergyman proposed several drugs to the boy in a hotel room, including ecstasy-derivative MDMA and a substance that resembled GHB, a notorious date-rape narcotic, RTL radio reported.

The men had sex, but the boy felt ill afterwards and alerted friends.

The case is the latest in a deluge of sexual assault scandals that have severely undermined the church in France.

After an inquiry last year revealed the shocking scale of sexual abuse by priests in recent decades, French Catholics were left stunned again earlier this week by the confessions of a cardinal.

Jean-Pierre Ricard, one of the country’s most senior Catholic figures, admitted to “reprehensible” acts with a 14-year-old girl in the 1980s on Monday, sparking a judicial enquiry.

Church leaders revealed on the same day that another 10 retired or serving bishops faced sexual abuse allegations.

The priest from Rennes told investigators he regularly came to the capital to meet men for drug-fuelled hook-ups in hotels, RTL reported.

He denied the rape allegations, saying the boy indicated he was over 18 on his Grindr profile and he had not asked any questions.

“I can imagine how men and women will be outraged by this case,” the archbishop of Rennes, Pierre d’Ornellas, said in a statement, adding that he had alerted the Vatican about the arrest and charges.

He named the priest as Yannick Poligne, adding: “I understand and can assure you of my determination to take action.”

A church-backed inquiry that reported its findings last year found that an estimated 216,000 minors had been abused by clergy over the past seven decades.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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