French priest charged with child rape, in new blow to church

November 23, 2018 - 9:40 am

PARIS (AP) — A French priest has been handed preliminary charges of raping minors in the latest blow to the Catholic Church in France.

The regional prosecutor's office said the Rev. Robert Bonan was arrested Tuesday in the town of Lautenbach near the German border. The charges were based on multiple complaints, some dating to the 1980s.

His archbishop, Monsignor Luc Ravel, called it a "disaster for humanity." In a diocese statement Friday, he praised those "who came forward, in great suffering." He promised the church would help seek justice for these "terrifying crimes" and urged other victims of priest abuse to step forward.

Another French priest was sentenced to two years in prison this week for sexual abusing multiple children while his former bishop was convicted for failing to report the crimes.

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