Psychological hold, ban on food, financial capture ... Philadelphia, also known as Le Jardin - each of its followers bearing the name of a flower - is once again in the crosshairs of justice. This “closed prayer group” of traditionalist Catholic inspiration, born in the 1970s around the personality of Violette, nickname of the mother of Xavier de Dupont de Ligonnès, the alleged perpetrator of the quintuple murder of Nantes in April 2011 (his wife and her four children), was the subject of a report in September 2019 to the Versailles parquet.
Testimonies from a family received by the Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and Fight against Sectarian Drifts (Miviludes) indicate that the group, now led by Christine, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès' sister, is still active and presents risks sectarian drift. On November 24, a preliminary investigation was opened by the Versailles prosecution for "abuse of weakness in a state of psychological subjection targeting a movement of Catholic inspiration, traditionalist, radical and apocalyptic".
The investigations were entrusted to the Central Office for the Suppression of Violence against Persons (OCRVP) and to the Interregional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Versailles.
The disappearance of their parents' savings
This summer, according to our information, Olivier and Fabien B., two thirty-something brothers, originally from eastern France, went to knock on the door of the Association for the Defense of Families and the Individual (Adfi) Alsace for denounce strange practices. One of the two, Olivier B., claims to have belonged to Philadelphia, but to have left the group in order to be able to live freely in a romantic relationship that he was forbidden. He would also have confided that he was forced to settle Christine Dupont de Ligonnès' own telephone bills.
The second brother, Fabien B., has always stood back from the group. The B. brothers claimed that their own parents had been under the psychological influence of Geneviève Dupont de Ligonnès, carrier of the divine word, and her daughter Christine, who had been designated as the chosen one, for twenty years. The two women would have gradually demanded, under cover of the signature of the Almighty, signs of allegiance: family breakdown, deprivation of food, choice of music ... A third brother Florian B., monk in a convent, would still be part of the group.
It was when their mother died on January 31, 2019 that the two brothers discovered the gravity of the situation. According to them, their father, very weak psychologically, did not have enough money to offer a funeral to his wife. In March 2019, Olivier and Fabien B. reportedly had their father Jean-Michel, originally from Metz, admitted to hospital. But the 60-year-old would have left hospital quickly and would have resumed his job as manager in Luxembourg. The father, supported by his daughter Anaëlle, aged 27, evokes a simple backlash linked to the death of his wife and is said to have filed a handrail against these two sons, accusing them of manipulation.
The latter wonder about the disappearance of their parents' savings. The couple is said to have sold their only property worth 250,000 euros without any trace of the nest egg being found. According to the two sons, the father also squandered the benefits of his wife's insurance. In November 2019, they seized the guardianship judge to request a protective measure from their father. A preliminary investigation was then opened by the parquet floor of Metz, which has just divested in favor of Versailles.
When contacted, Miviludes considers that the facts "were sufficiently precise and detailed" to be brought to the attention of the public prosecutor. “The Mission was relatively surprised that the group could still be active and that its followers were still under the influence of the inspirations and recommendations (or even the injunctions) of the two women, despite the revelations that followed the Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès case "Explains Anne Josso the secretary general of Miviludes.
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The investigators of the Versailles judicial police will have to check whether the family's resources have indeed been siphoned off and establish the real amount of the alleged financial and patrimonial damage. In addition, they will endeavor to see if there are no other victims among the followers of the group.
In 2011, as part of the investigation into the fivefold murder, the gendarmerie alerted by Miviludes had multiplied the hearings of members and ex-members of Philadelphia. Several homes of followers were then searched. In vain. For a few weeks, the suspicion that one of them could hide or protect Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès had been strong, even if the latter had broken with his mother's prayer group, several years before his disappearance. According to the B. brothers, the members of the group were still convinced that XDDL had taken shelter after having been the victim of a plot which led to the massacre of the family.
First reports in 1995
Contacted, Stéphane Goldenstein, the lawyer for the Dupont de Ligonnès family but also for Jean-Michel B., disputes any financial capture. "This is a dark story of personal revenge," says the council. After having attempted to have their father hospitalized automatically, two of the sons are now trying to have him placed under guardianship when the latter has no impairment of his mental faculties. For me, there is no more sect than gold in bars. The lawyer considers that "Miviludes should verify the credibility of the information it receives before bringing it to the public place as it had already done in 2011."
The first reports relating to Philadelphia date back to 1995. That year, followers, including XDDL, had gathered in Rennes in a house to await the end of the world. An ex-member had then confided his distress to a priest, who himself had taken up ties with Adfi Brittany.
A detailed report had been drawn up on the requirements of Geneviève Dupont de Ligonnès. Driver, listens to desires, financing all his needs, financial assistance ... All the people in his service think "to act for the service of God". The document that we have obtained reports on the dropout of children, prayers addressed to Lucifer, encouragement of adultery and family breakdown. It is noted that "these personal messages must be destroyed in order not to leave evidence". In the report, the group's activities are described as follows: "reading messages, transcription, prayers, travel generate enormous work that prevents thinking".