He was relieved of his duties at the beginning of June. The bishop of La Rochelle, Mgr Georges Colomb, was indicted on Friday for the attempted rape of an adult man that allegedly took place in 2013, the Paris prosecutor's office said on Monday, confirming a report by Mediapart. He was placed under judicial supervision, including a ban on contact with the victim and witnesses, and on appearing in certain places, the same source said. According to Mediapart, the man he is suspected of attempting to rape was 40 years old at the time of the incident.
Archbishop Georges Colomb, who wished to be "put in the background" for the duration of this judicial inquiry, has been relieved of his pastoral office since June. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop François Jacolin of Luçon (Vendée) as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, while Bishop Colomb retains the title of Bishop of La Rochelle and Saintes.
The latter had asked for his withdrawal after the revelation in the press, on June 13, of an investigation by the Paris prosecutor's office into "facts of a sexual nature" dating back to 2013, of which the prelate is suspected following a report made by the Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP). Former Superior General of the MEP (2010-2016), Archbishop Colomb expressed his "astonishment and incomprehension in the face of these slanderous allegations," denying them "vigorously."
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On May 6, the council of the MEP, a society of apostolic life of pontifical right, had sent to the Paris prosecutor's office a report concerning him, relayed on May 8 by the lawyers of the diocese of Paris. "By reaffirming its confidence in justice, the Bishops' Conference expresses its solicitude for the person concerned and recalls the presumption of innocence to which Archbishop Columbus is legitimately entitled," the France Bishops' Conference said in a statement.
"To those who will be disturbed or hurt by this information, especially within the diocese of La Rochelle and among the friends of the Foreign Missions of Paris, the Bishops' Conference expresses its closeness," she added.
Gilles Reithinger, auxiliary bishop of Strasbourg, who succeeded Archbishop Colomb as head of the MEP from 2016 to 2021, was cited in press articles as having been aware, as early as 2013, of the accusations of sexual assault that allegedly took place at the Paris headquarters of the MEP, in the very chic <>th arrondissement. Archbishop Reithinger had denied having been informed, according to his words to La Croix.