A story that has actually been developing for nearly two months has recently gotten international attention.
On November 4th, Father Roger Matassoli, a 91-year-old retired Catholic priest living in Oise, France, was found dead. A crucifix had been rammed down his throat and it was later determined he had also suffered trauma to his head and abdomen.
Authorities have identified a 19-year-old man as the murderer. Identified only as Alexandre V. in the press, the suspect is reportedly a victim of sexual abuse committed by Matassoli.
But the story quickly gets more complicated.
Alexandre's father was also a victim of abuse committed by Matassoli. Members of the community were also reportedly aware of rumors that Matassoli had been sexually abusing children as early as the 1960's.
One woman in the community spoke with reporters and told them that, "Some people say that he was transferred [in 1967] to Saint-André because he touched children in his other parish in Clermont."
That same woman also admitted that both of her brothers were abused by Matassoli. Her youngest brother told her that he had showered with the priest. When she spoke to her older brother about it he "dissolved into tears."
Her older brother, who was 22-years-old at the time of this conversation, told her horrifying details about the eight years of abuse that he suffered. The family tried to press charges, but the statute of limitations meant that Matassoli would remain free.
Matassoli was relieved of his priestly duties in 2009, although he kept collecting his paycheck from the church until 2018.
In the later years of his life, as pressure grew, the church began conducting an investigation into the abuse he committed. After he died, though, the investigation was dropped. No report was ever completed and sent to the Vatican.
As the horrifying scope and scale of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal continues to grow, we can unfortunately expect more stories like this to continue to be exposed.
Alexandre, according to reports, was hospitalized for "significant mental problems." I can only hope he is getting the help he needs. While Matassoli's death was violent, the pain and suffering he caused many children over the last five decades is absolutely sickening.