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French court acquits priest on rape charge

Published on Feb 28, 2014 4:57 AM

LONS-LE-SAUNIER (AFP) - A French court on Thursday acquitted a 69-year-old priest charged with raping a devout and vulnerable parishioner.

Daniel Lagnien was accused of taking advantage of the woman described as psychologically frail with no sexual experience, in a case with the potential to inflict further damage on the reputation of the Roman Catholic clergy after years of sexual scandals.

The prosecution had alleged that Mr Lagnien made advances to the 39-year-old virgin during a 2010 pilgrimage to a shrine in the French Alps.

Several days later, she went to the priest's home in Moirans-en-Montagne, Jura seeking an explanation of his behaviour.

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