Éliane Deschamps, clairvoyant or guru?

A long-awaited trial opens this Monday morning at the Dijon Criminal Court, that of Éliane Deschamps. The founder of the association “Amour et Miséricorde”, is prosecuted for abuse of weakness. Jérémie Demay, independent journalist, is writing a book on this affair.

France Bleu Bourgogne: To set the scene for this affair, the community settled in the Jura, but it is here, in Dijon, that it all started. What exactly is this woman, Éliane Deschamps accused of?

Jérémy Demay: This is the hold, since she is prosecuted for breach of trust and abuse of weakness. It’s really the hold she could have had on the various members who followed her at one point. This is the key to this trial.

Hold, what does that mean? Breaking family ties, are we giving money? How did that translate into everyday life, then?

Jérémy Demay: A sectarian drift group translates into three axes at the legal level: abuse of weakness, abuse of trust, extortion. Find out if there are significant sums that have been embezzled or taken by group leaders. The family breakdown, but this is where it is very complicated since they are only adults. And as an adult, we have the right to no longer want to talk to our loved ones. Has there been a family breakdown due to the influence of Ms. Deschamps or Ms. Couvreur, since she has changed her name at times? These are the terms that need to be defined. And of course, there is the mental manipulation that comes to top it all.

But there, same, it is always extremely complicated. You know, it’s like when you go to a dealership, when you buy a car. We said to ourselves at the beginning, I’m going to put 15,000, but he manages to convince us to add 7,000 to have a metallic paint or other. Did he show any manipulation? Is he just a really good salesperson? And that is really the big difficulty with this type of file.

How many victims are there, how many people have lodged a complaint?

Jérémy Demay: For now, there would be about twenty complaints knowing that there are some that have been extinguished, simply because the people have died. Twenty years of procedures is a very long time. It is almost a record also for French justice. But, a priori, there would be about twenty people either, people from the same family who were able to meet, or people whose family members are still in the group. So there really are quite a few motley complaints.

And since you have met some of them, what is the profile of these people who joined the “Love and Mercy” group?

Jérémy Demay: The common feature is the psychological flaw. Every human being at some point, a fragility, a painful experience, a death or something like that, that shapes everyday life. The sectarian groups are interfering in this loophole to tell people “Come to us, it will be much better, it will be much nicer”. And in fact, what is very interesting in “Love and Mercy” is that the people who let themselves be seduced by this speech have very heterogeneous profiles.

It goes from the person a little lost to very high officials and people who made the ENA in particular, who had major responsibilities within the region. Here, therefore, there are really very, very heterogeneous people. There are even big bourgeois for once. There are really plenty, lots of different people. It is not at all an intellectual or training problem.

You have met the famous Éliane Deschamps. How would you describe her?

Jérémy Demay: I only met her once. It was extremely fast. I was only able to ask her one question which had a bit of a practical side: since she sees the Virgin every 15th of the month at midnight 6. How did she do when we spent summer hours in winter hours? So, of course, there was some of the people around her there, who got up into the towers right away. So she never answered me. I would like to have that answer one day. But hey, obviously, that’s a bit of a provocative question …

He is a person who is not very tall physically, a little with good nature, who seems old. Even though she was a little over 60 years old herself, already at the time, she seemed very old. But she’s a lambda person, really lambda, a little granny, ultimately without a charismatic side, at least when you see her like that. But according to former members, she would have this charismatic side when she is in a small community or in a small group.