The conviction of the archbishop of Lyon for covering up paedophilia in his diocese is a victory for victim and campaigner Francois Devaux, whose dogged efforts to publicise the abuse have made him a hero — and a reluctant cinema star. Archbishop Philippe Barbarin, 68, the most senior French cleric caught up in an abuse […]
On Saturday evening, the Berlin Film Festival awarded the Jury Grand Prize to French director François Ozon’s film “Grace to God” on pedophile scandals in the Catholic Church. The Grand Prix is the second major award of the Berlinale after the Golden Bear. This prize was awarded before a court decision Monday on a possible postponement of the release of the film in France.François Ozon shares the prize with his heroes
“This film tries to break the silence of powerful institutions” on these cases of sexual abuse of children, said François Ozon receiving his reward. “I want to share this award with the free men who inspired me” who “were victims of a pedophile priest,” he added, moved. “Alexandre, François and Pierre-Emmanuel, you are my heroes,” greeted the 51-year-old French director.
The French release of a film based on real-life cases of sex abuse allegedly committed by a French priest, which is being premiered Friday at the Berlin film festival, could be delayed. Lawyers for the priest in question, who is accused of molesting more than 80 boys, say the film should not be shown until after his trial later this year.
Director Francois Ozon’s film By The Grace Of God tells the story of a group of survivors of abuse at the hands of Lyon-based priest, Bernard Preyant. Ozon worked in secret with several members of a survivor’s group that has gathered testimony of dozens of people who claim to have been abused by Preynat in Lyon.
Preynat is to be tried on sexual violence charges involving ten children. The allegations came out after a former scout, Francois Devaux went public in 2015 with allegations that the priest had abused him as a child 25 years earlier.
Preynat was suspended by the church later in 2015, and it later emerged that Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, had confronted him about the allegations five years earlier, and later went to the Vatican, but never contacted law enforcement authorities.
Barbarin and five other church officials and members are waiting for a verdict on charges of covering up the abuse and failing to protect children.
The highest-profile Catholic cleric to be caught up in a paedophile scandal in France goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to report a priest who abused boy scouts in the 1980s and 90s.