Rorate Caeli

In Evreux, the former parish priest of Thiberville sued for breach of trust

(For those not yet aware of the Thiberville saga, please read  this and this)
Father Francis Michel, at odds for several years with his bishop, appeared in Evreux court Thursday, October 8 for embezzling over € 100,000 of donations made by the faithful

October 10, 2015

Father Francis Michel, a priest of the diocese of Evreux who has been in conflict for several years with his bishop, appeared Thursday, October 8 in Evreux court accused of embezzling over €100,000 of donations made by the faithful.
Father Michel, who has long been the pastor of Thiberville (15 km west of Lisieux), was charged with "breach of trust" by the diocesan association who acted as a civil party. The prosecution requested a fine of €5000 and a hearing was scheduled for October 23.
The events occurred between 2006 and 2008. After a complaint from the diocese, investigators found 
€116,000 in eleven bank accounts held by the priest who in principle earned only €900 per month.
Father Francis Michel, who celebrates Mass in Latin, in both forms of the Roman Rite (according to the Missal of Paul VI or according to the Tridentine Missal) had failed to turn over to the diocese donations made by the faithful, nine of whom have testified in his favor in court.
Specifically, the priest did not give the diocese gifts received on the occasion of baptisms and funerals as he was supposed to.
While he had a reputation for living in poverty wearing a worn cassock, bank statements have nevertheless revealed expenditures for nights in Paris hotels, for leather goods and, curiously, piercings.
He apparently gave €30,000 to a disinherited young man who lives in his home in order to obtain a driver's license - which he never did.
"I  acknowledge that in my life I have been conned," said Father Michel. "One time a check was even used to buy  drugs," he has said.
in 2009, Father Michel had clashed with his bishop, Christian Nourrichard for refusing an appointment that would have entailed him leaving the parish of Thiberville where he was pastor for 23 years.
Strongly supported by traditionalist faithful, he made several appeals in Rome to the Congregation for the Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura - all rejected - before reaching an agreement with his bishop. He is currently rector of the church in Planquay, a neighboring town of Thiberville near Bernay in the department of Eure.
La Croix