Revelations about a former Focolare member's sexual assault of some 30 young boys have shown dysfunctions within the popular movement and prompted an independent investigationStill stunned by the revelations of the victims of sexual abuse committed by one of their own
in France, leaders of the Focolare Movement say they want 2021 to be the year of truth.
The first inklings of the abuse came in September when senior Focolare officials met with several
of abuse victims.
But it was not until a few weeks later, in early October, that the full scope of the case came to light.
That's when a journalistic investigation recounted how Jean-Michel M., a consecrated layman in the popular movement, had sexually assaulted a 15-year-old adolescent in the 1980s.
The victim, Christophe Renaudin, spoke with his face uncovered during a documentary that was aired in France during prime time.
The case had originally been reported in 1994. The perpetrator confessed to the crime in 1998, but only received a civil conviction because of the statute of limitations.
The man in question was officially removed from any contact with children, but he remained an esteemed and influential member of the Focolare Movement. On occasion, he was even sent to its other communities around the world.