The acts of pedophilia committed on his father and some of his uncles, the suicide of his grandfather when he learned of it in 2012, the rumors of the priest's hidden sons impossible to confirm but who have hovered over the village for more than 30 years ... until the ultimate act. The story of the family of Alexandre, indicted for the murder of Father Matassoli smothered with his crucifix in Agnetz (Oise) on November 4, 2019, is intimately linked to the priest. But it is not the only one.
In the 1980s, the life of another family in the parish of Froissy changed. That of Jacques. In 1984, at 23, he filed a complaint against Roger Matassoli for acts of pedophilia suffered from 6 to 14 years old, at the presbytery of Saint-André-Farivillers where the priest lived for 42 years and at the summer camp that he organized in Saint-Claude, in the Jura.
The strange photo of the naked priest found in a landfill
That year, "a relative discovered in the village dump a photo of the priest, naked, from the front, his foot on a chair," recalls one of Jacques' sisters, Colette, who speaks today for honor the memory of his brother who died in 1989. “Our parents went to see him. He replied that it was a joke, a photograph made in the army. But he looked way too old. "
This image then intrigues Colette. She questions her brothers. “They told me that they took showers with the abbot, after playing in the presbytery. And that with Jacques it went further. "He also" took a lot of shots of Jacques, and probably other kids, sometimes posing by his side using a camera with a self-timer at a time when we rarely did. ” Thirty-five years later, she still asks "the question of what he could do with it? If it is, he traded in it ... "
Throughout his childhood, the boy said nothing. "In all Catholic families, including mine, it was obvious that he would not have been believed," explains Colette. Especially since my parents went to see Matassoli for advice on education. My brothers went to the Jura because it was with Matassoli, my parents would not have trusted anyone other than him. My brother didn't want to go but didn't say why. My parents sent him there, thinking it was a chance for him. They told Jacques to be helpful and to go to the priest's house to mow the lawn ... ”
"It was a time when we were silent, we especially didn't want to put the village on our backs"
After years of silence, the boy, questioned by Colette, confides in and reveals the priest's voyeurism when he was in the shower, the photos of him taken while the priest had him pose naked, the touching ... "Jacques told me that the abbot took him on his knees, at the table, in front of my parents and passed his hand discreetly in his shorts, ”reports Odile, the older sister who encourages him to file a complaint.
The day after these revelations, she went to Beauvais, 25 km away, to telephone the prestigious 36, Quai des Orfèvres, the seat of the judicial police in Paris. "I did not want to call from my home or the canton of Froissy, fearing that my call would be intercepted in case the abbot had been protected," she testified.
His story is taken seriously: Jacques receives a summons to Paris where his testimony is recorded, then transmitted to the PJ of Creil, territorially competent. The family undertakes these procedures in the greatest secrecy. "It was a time when we were silent, we especially didn't want to put the village on our backs," breathes Colette.
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A Creil PJ police inspector takes charge of the case. "In the fall of 1984, Inspector Neveu came to my house in an unmarked car and took me around the hamlets so that I could show him the houses of families whose children had the opportunity to meet the abbot at catechism, in colony or in the presbytery ”, describes Odile, who carefully noted in a notebook, as and when, the dates, places and facts of each element of the case.
"If I have ever done harm, I have also happened to do good. God will take it into account ”
The investigation came to nothing. And Jacques sinks a little deeper. In 1986, his father "accompanied him to Matassoli's house to ask him to acknowledge the facts and the suffering of Jacques, so that he would be partly relieved". In vain. In a letter addressed to Jacques' father on February 28, the parish priest again denied. "It happened fortuitously in colo that the monitors showered and changed without making any mystery in the presence of children", he writes. Further on, he adds "if I have ever done harm, I have also happened to do good God will take it into account".
Jacques' mother, a very pious woman who has not set foot in church since the revelations of her son, takes up the pen in turn, indignant that the abbot "said to Jacques I can swear on the gospel that what you say is false ".
This time, Matassoli is no longer so categorical. "If that can bring peace to Jacques and to all, I recognize my wrongs and I ask forgiveness, I have already done so," he writes. I never intended to swear on the gospel to deny my responsibility but only for the colo. "
As in his previous letter, the abbot activates the sensitive chord. "Let's stop there please." If the good Lord reminds me, I have been at peace with him for a long time. I pray for all of you, thank you for praying for me. "
And also to implore prayers for her sister, "Marie-José who had a terrible car accident in the mountains".
"Jacques was in a delusional state. You will never know if he committed suicide ”
Three years later, in the summer of 1989, Jacques disappears "under enigmatic circumstances", describes Odile. His body was finally found in the Parisian morgue where he had been resting for two months, after being drafted into the Seine where he had driven straight ahead, on a bicycle. "He was in a delusional state. We will never know if he committed suicide ", wonder the two sisters who make the connection with the state of Alexander, 19, suspected of being the one who smothered the abbot with his crucifix on the 4th last November, when he too was in the grip of delusional puffs.
Upon discovering the murder in the press, the sisters decided to give their testimony to the Beauvais prosecutor, to inform him of the facts denounced in 1984. "Several indications lead me to believe that the abbot was protected," writes Odile. I am aware that this can make me seem paranoid, but it is my feeling in good faith. "
It may not be far from the truth. Now retired from the police, Inspector Neveu, in charge of the investigation, has regained his freedom of speech. And do not mince words on this case which leaves him with a bitter memory. The former cop immediately tipped when he learned of the priest's death in the press. Affected, he even kept a page from the newspaper published in mid-December, carefully cut and folded in a drawer of the living room buffet.
"Discreet preliminary investigation: he has no police custody, no search, no summons"
"I was summoned one day to the Beauvais prosecutor's office," said the former cop. He asked me to investigate priest Matassoli. He entrusts me with this investigation with… let's say rather cryptic words, namely: discretion, discretion and discretion. "
The inspector "understands a word" that he is asked to investigate, but not too much. Unprecedented in the career of this man who spent 25 years at the PJ de Creil before being entrusted with the creation of the first PJ antenna in Martinique. "Discreet preliminary investigation, this means that there is no police custody, no search, no summons since to remain discreet, you must especially not summon people ... Especially if the person in question arrives in cassock! "
Daniel Neveu therefore met Jacques and his family well, as his sisters indicate. "A very very disturbed family," he recalls. It was a time when it was difficult to articulate certain words. When there is aggression, when there is supposed rape, we use adequate words: penetration , rape , caress ... I never heard these words, they were unable to pronounce them. "
For him, Jacques, is credible. At the time, the limitation period was three years from the facts for sexual assault and ten for rape. And the inspector, "thinks we were on rape". There was therefore reason to continue.
However, he was never able to see the priest for questioning. "I had to settle for an epistolary procedure," he laments. There were reminders, it lasted for months. Matassoli's answers are however brief. "He told me very succinctly that if he had committed acts that the alleged victim would not have understood, it was not for the purpose of hurting him, that there had probably been a misunderstanding but that in any case, only God was able to judge. It was a kind of rejection of the intervention of human justice. The bishopric's response rings out like an echo.
A few incognito visits to the village, pretending to be a future parishioner, taught him nothing more. He never heard of other victims. "This is also the problem with these cases, all of these priest victims are generally very religious people, that is to say that it does not disgust them of religion," he notes. On the contrary, we even have the impression that they are even more attached to it. It becomes difficult for them to be a whistleblower since they still participate in the life of the diocese and it seems complicated for them to go beyond a certain limit. "
Daniel Neveu completes the file and submits it to his managers, who forward it as is to the Beauvais prosecution, where the complaint is dismissed by the prosecutor at the time.
The file, too old, has disappeared from the courthouse
Thirty-six years later, we have not been able to find his former bosses, nor the prosecutor at the time. The current, Florent Boura, indicates that the file is too old to be currently at the courthouse. The first computer having arrived at the Beauvais parquet at the end of 1986, there is no computer trace.
According to Inspector Neveu, the priest should have been prosecuted: “He would have deserved it, I think. Because he still had quite extraordinary power over the town, over his diocese, where he was beyond reproach . ”
If Jacques was the first, he was not the only one to have raised the alarm. In 1999, Jean-Paul L., a former pup of Clermont, contacted the bishopric and accused Father Matassoli of a sexual assault committed when he was 9 years old, during a scout camp organized in Plainval. It was in 1962 when Matassoli is not yet in office in Saint-André-Farivillers.
1. A priest suffocated with his crucifix
2. A family destroyed over several generations
3. In 1984, the first complaint buried
4. Multiple alerts ignored (available online January 25)
5. Half a century of control (January 26)