“To those who will be disturbed or injured 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. May the Lord who presents himself as ‘truth’ enlighten and strengthen everyone.”
Three French news outlets earlier this year published a joint investigation into three cases of alleged abuse by priests connected with the Paris Foreign Mission Society. The reports alleged in part that Colomb, a former superior of the society, had committed the attempted rape in the year in question. Following those reports, the newly established National Canonical Criminal Tribunal opened an investigation into those alleged abuses.
The French investigative news outlet Mediapart said in a Monday report that Colomb “was presented to an investigating judge on Friday” and indicted for the attempted rape and that as part of the judicial control order he had been given “a ban on contacting the victim and witnesses as well as appearing in certain places.”
Pope Francis appointed Bishop François Jacolin, bishop of the Diocese of Luçon, as the apostolic administrator of the diocese in June. At this time, it was announced that Colomb would retain the title of bishop of La Rochelle and Saintes, pending the results of the investigation.
Mediapart said that several Church authorities are alleged to have been aware of the allegations for several years. Bishop Gilles Reithinger, an auxiliary bishop of Strasbourg and former superior of the Paris Foreign Mission Society, had earlier this year also been accused of having mismanaged the accusations of abuse against Colomb.
Reithinger’s lawyer told Mediapart this week that the bishop “had nothing to reproach himself for and that he had perfectly respected the rules of law.”