Lucie was just 16 when she became involved with a Catholic religious community after attending a holiday camp in Switzerland. At the time, she told CNN, she was “very, very, very alone” and looking for friends and affection.
What she found at first was “really like a family,” she said. But two years later — by which time she was preparing to become an “oblate,” a lay person affiliated with a religious order — she says a pattern of sexual abuse by a charismatic priest who she considered her spiritual father began.
It took 15 years for Lucie — a pseudonym used at her request to protect her family — to realize that what she says she experienced over several months in the 1990s was abuse. At the time, just 18 years old, she felt “disgusted” by the physical intimacy she says the priest forced on her but also wracked by guilt and powerless to stop him.