The Lyon public prosecutor’s office launched a preliminary investigation between 2019 and 2020 into suspicions of sexual assault attributed by two young women to a Lyon priest, Georges Babolat, AFP reported on Friday from a judicial source, supporting the revelations published by Grandstand of Lyon.
Deceased in 2006, Father Babolat was the superior of the Chartreux institution, a prestigious establishment which trains the elite of Lyon, from 1978 to 2001. However, the facts revealed by recent investigations are within the framework of a colony of holidays located in Haute-Savoie, independent of the Chartreux.
Cardinal Barbarin had been warned in 2016
An investigation into sexual assaults on minors was opened following a letter from the mother of an alleged victim, sent to the public prosecutor of Lyon, in April 2019. Her daughter and another young woman were heard by the investigators, confirming having been touched by the priest in the 1990s. The file was closed without action in April 2020, by extinction of the public action, without having established complicity.
The mother at the origin of the legal proceedings had previously sent a report to Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, in 2016. In response, the former archbishop of Lyon had sent him a letter, asking him “forgiveness on behalf of the whole Church for this scandal”, and affirming the need “to operate a great purification of the memory”.
The archdiocese, already shaken in recent years by the resounding Preynat and Barbarin affairs, explained on Friday that “since the 2019 report, no other witness has come forward” to the institution. These new revelations arise shortly after post-mortem accusations against Father Louis Ribes, who died in 1994.