A 38-year-old French priest in a town in northern France committed suicide in his church after being accused of molesting a girl, local prosecutors and police sources told AFP on Wednesday.
Jean-Baptiste Sebe killed himself on Tuesday in the church in Rouen amid allegations from a local mother that her daughter had been a victim of “indecent behaviour and sexual assault,” a police source said.
The initial complaint was made to the archbishop of Rouen, and “police were not notified prior to the suicide,” the source added, stressing that investigators remained “very cautious at this stage.”
Local prosecutor Etienne Thieffry confirmed that an investigation was under way into “the exact reasons for the suicide” at the Saint-Jean XXIII church.
“At this point, no complaint has been filed,” Thieffry said.
A spokesman for the Rouen diocese, Eric de la Bourdonnaye, told AFP he could “neither confirm nor deny these reports.”
The Catholic Church has been shaken by a string of paedophile scandals over the past 25 years.