Authorities from the legal system and the church are looking into a retired French archbishop for making what he called ‘an inappropriate gesture’ toward an adult young woman towards the end of the 1980s.
The retired former archbishop of Strasburg, Monseigneur Jean-Pierre Grallet, 81, stated in a statement on Wednesday that he had been informed this summer that the woman had lodged a complaint against him.
Grallet added, ‘I regret my conduct then, and I have written to the woman to ask her pardon, and from now on, while I await the results of church and civil investigations, I will refrain from speaking in public.’
He made no specific mention of the type of behaviour for which he is being investigated.
French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard said last week that he will step down from his duties as a result of abusing a 14-year-old girl in the past.
According to Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French Bishops’ Conference, 11 present or former bishops are the focus of abuse investigations.
An independent inquiry last year claimed that French clergy had molested more than 200,000 children sexually over the course of the previous 70 years, and its authors said that the Catholic Church had been too long silent about the abuse.