Trial of the woman guru: members of the community deny all sectarian abuses

At the trial of the one who claims to hear the Virgin, the current members of the Love and Mercy community opposed, Tuesday, November 23, “Love” and the ” generosity “ from the guru accused of sectarian practices, to the stories of“Hold” made by ancient adepts, treated “Liars” and of “Manipulators”.

Contrary to what the accusers say, there was no ” not at all “ slavery, ensures at the helm one of the members of the community aged 61 years. “The tasks were shared, the cooking, the dishes. We all got our hands dirty ”, she asserts.

As to “Punishments” denounced by the civil parties, it was rather ” developed “ in order to “Regulate friction”, she says. “They weren’t punishments, but lots of love and encouragement to do better. “” There was no hold “, she asserts, claiming to be ” free “.

Community members who say they are free

“I have always been free. I go to the right, to the left ”, adds another 64-year-old woman, also a member of the group founded in 1999 by the one who says she receives the Virgin Mary every 15th of the month at 12:06 am. “I do not understand why this trial is taking place”, she concludes.

“No one ever forced me to do anything” in “The prayer group”, says a 53-year-old man, who says he joined the community today in Petit-Noir (Jura) twenty years ago, attracted by “His freedom”. Denying being “In a sect”, this muscular and nervous fitness teacher vehemently challenges being “A vulnerable person”, as some civil parties have said.

Monday, November 22, former followers recounted a life “under the thumb” of the woman guru, accusing her of letting herself be “Fully maintain” by members of his community, reduced to the state of” slave “ and forced to ” to make donations “.

The defendant, aged 67, remains as always impassive, seated in a wheelchair and connected to an oxygen cylinder, face masked barely visible under a cap.

Up to five years in prison possible for defendants

At her side, appears her accomplice, aged 75, former member of the Church of Scientology and prosecuted, as she of “fraudulent abuse of the ignorance or weakness of a person by the leader of a group pursuing activities creating, maintaining or exploiting the psychological subjection of the participants ”.

In an investigation attached to the thick investigation file of seven volumes, the Interministerial Mission in charge of the fight against sects (Miviludes) evokes “Sectarian excesses” and “A process of control over the members, of rupture with the family and social environment and of financial pressures”.

Ten civil parties are represented in this trial which is due to end on Tuesday, November 23 after nearly twenty years of proceedings which have worn out three investigating judges. The defendants are liable to five years in prison and a € 750,000 fine.