A 75-year-old former Catholic priest in France identified as Bernard Preynat has been sentenced to jail for five years for sexually abusing dozens of children in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
Last July, Preynat was stripped of his clerical status after a church tribunal ruled he had committed criminal acts of sexual character against minors under 16.
Preynat was said to have assaulted at least 80 young boys between the ages of 7 and 15. During his trial, he admitted abusing boy scouts while a scout leader in Lyon. He told the court he had not understood how serious or grave his crimes were. The abuse was said to have taken place between 1971 and 1991.
He also revealed for the first time during his trial that he had himself been the victim of abuse by clergymen in his youth, lawyers for some of the plaintiffs said that they were in doubts of his last-minute allegation, calling it another lie from a man who for years had evaded punishment for his crimes.
Ten of his victims testified at the four-day trial. Prosecutors sought an eight-year jail term and accused Preynat of shattering his victims’ lives.