Serial Abuser in France Sentenced to Five Years in Jail

An abusive French Catholic priest who admitted to abusing at least 80 boys was sentenced today to five years in prison. While we are grateful that this dangerous man will now be kept away from children, we worry about the message being sent by this sentence.

Fr. Bernard Preynat has been accused of abusing “at least 80 boys” while he worked as their Boy Scout Chaplain. Fr. Preynat himself admitted perpetrating these crimes. There was no doubt about Fr. Preynat’s guilt, nor any mitigating factors that would have lessened his charges. He is, by all accounts, an extremely dangerous serial abuser.

We cannot help but feel that the sentence imposed by the courts in this case is far too short for the nature of these crimes. As survivors of sexual abuse know, being abused as a child carries a lifetime sentence. Yet in this case, Fr. Preynat will serve less than 23 days for each child he admits abusing.

Not only does the serial nature of Fr. Preynat’s abuse make him likely to re-offend when he gets out of prison, but the sentence barely registers as a deterrent. In putting Fr. Preynat behind bars for such a short amount of time, we worry that other abusers will be emboldened instead of concerned about serving time.

At the end of the day, we are grateful that this dangerous man is behind bars. We hope that this news will encourage other victims to come forward and make a report to police so that their abuser can also see the inside of a jail cell.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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