27 Mar 2019

Tahiti Catholic priest charged with sexual assault

4:15 pm on 27 March 2019

A Catholic priest in French Polynesia has been charge with sexual assault and corruption of minors.

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Photo: 123RF

Earlier this month, a 40-year-old man was detained and questioned for two days about the alleged sexual abuse of minors.

He was set free and declared an "assisted witness" in the ongoing investigation.

The prosecution, however, objected to this and Tahiti Nui TV said he has now been charged.

The suspect remains free but is not allowed to visit his parish or leave the territory.

He has rejected the accusations.

When he was detained the archbishop of Papeete Jean-Pierre Cottanceau issued a statement, saying the church had zero tolerance for sexual abuse.

He said it was up to the judiciary to determine the priest's innocence or culpability.

It was the first time a Catholic priest in French Polynesia had been taken in for questioning for alleged sexual misconduct.