Loire. Father Bernard Preynat died in Saint-Etienne

Loire. Father Bernard Preynat died in Saint-Etienne
Loire. Father Bernard Preynat died in Saint-Etienne

The death of former priest Bernard Preynat was announced on Sunday evening.

We subsequently learned that the person concerned was found lifeless in his apartment in Saint-Etienne, accommodation “without any connection with the diocese”, where he had been living since his release from prison about two months ago.

It was a friend who discovered the person’s body in his bathroom.

The Saint-Etienne public prosecutor’s office has traditionally opened an investigation into the causes of death, “even if there is nothing suspicious on his body, which will be examined by a forensic doctor within a few days.”

Bernard Preynat was sentenced to five years in prison in 2020 for sexual assault on minors, committed between 1971 and 1991 as part of his duties as a man of the Church.

A suspension of sentence requested in 2023

The Lyon criminal court having not issued a committal warrant, the convicted person was only incarcerated in November 2021 at the La Talaudière penitentiary center before being transferred to the Riom remand center (Puy-de -Dome).

In 2023, he requested a suspension of his sentence, experts having considered that his condition was not compatible with detention.

This was granted at the beginning of summer 2023, but the prosecution appealed. The court of appeal then ordered a medical assessment which concluded that the patient was not life-threatening.

After this refusal, Bernard Preynat made a request for a reduced sentence which was refused.

It was a sentence enforcement judge from Clermont-Ferrand who authorized his release from the Riom remand center about two months ago, granting him home detention under electronic surveillance.

The health of the 79-year-old convict was presented as “worrying”.

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