François Debelle: better combating pedophilia
François Debelle: better combating pedophilia

“Christianity does not solve evil, but it shows us the two hands that we have at the end of the arms! “ Sitting behind his desk, François Debelle presents his, palms open. At 58, this native of Champagne likes to “do”, he says. A habit taken from childhood, in a family where we live a Catholicism “Not moralistic, but committed and generous”.

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The mother teacher by training is deputy mayor in charge of social action, the father director of an agricultural cooperative is always ready to help: “People were parading at the house and it was natural. The spirit was that if there are things to do, then you might as well do them! “

“Jonas”, a collaborative space for the fight against child crime

Make. Help. In 2018, François Debelle goes to the end of these concepts. The one who has become an engineer plunges his hands into a subject that few agree to explore: he founded the “Jonas” platform with several acquaintances. A collaborative space for the fight against child crime, designed to become a resource center that will eventually bring together some 300 articles on the subject.

For what reason this man, married, father of five children “Magnificent”, now regional director of a major social housing operator in the region, has he chosen to look into this question? “Repulsive” ? It has no echo in his personal life, he evacuates immediately. Rather, we must seek the link on the side of his spiritual life. Because François Debelle is a deacon. Ordained in 2008, he saw this ministry as “A great joy”, which he shares with those he accompanies in a baptism, or a wedding.

The protection of life, a matter of course

A few years earlier, this Centrale in Lyon graduate, who worked for several private groups, changed his professional path by becoming regional director of Apprentis d’Auteuil. Child protection resonates with him as obvious: “There, we carry all the stakes of life. And we often come across damaged children, sometimes victims of rape or sexual assault, whom it is our responsibility to support. “

In 2016, the Preynat affair broke out. Accused of having committed numerous sexual assaults on minors in the 1970s and 1980s, this priest will be sentenced to five years in prison in 2020. “All over the world, similar stories are emerging. The numbers are appalling. I realize then that we are not in a system of “black sheep” but in a deep, systemic problem ”, poses the deacon with the clear gaze.

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He points to the “Denial” first of the institution. If he thinks that with “The Saved commission and the efforts of the Bishops’ Conference and many Catholics, the Church is able to recover and become a place of safety”, the episode bruises him considerably: “I felt co-responsible, I clearly thought about throwing my dawn. “

A multitude of media for information

In his office, François Debelle drinks coffee from a branded cup “Integration through housing”. Rather than leave the Church, he chose to do. He clicks on his computer and opens the “Jonas” home page. “Faced with such a scourge, I told myself that we had to provide information, to enlighten”, he synthesizes.

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Thus was born the platform in 2018. The reader has access to a multitude of supports to understand the springs of child crime: thematic articles, book reading sheets, videos, links to associations of assistance to victims … The network of contributors compile the legal texts in force but also chronicle Camille Kouchner’s book, The Big Family, and works on the presence of pedophilia in Gauguin’s art.

Don’t leave pedophilia in a blind spot

Objective: not to leave pedophilia in a blind spot. “The rape of a child is unspeakable. The absolute taboo. Because they make us sick, we don’t want to imagine these crimes. We only try to flee them “, continues the founder. On the contrary, under the leadership of François Debelle, those who work to feed the “Jonas” platform – a dozen ordinary volunteer citizens, teachers, a retired journalist, a former commissioner, a lawyer… – prefer “Look where it’s ugly”.

With this documentary base which revolves around three axes – “understanding”, “contributing” and “preventing” – the initiative targets the general public. This subject, as dark and frightening as it is, François Debelle is convinced, everyone must make it their own, understand it, in order to fight it better. He sees his platform as ” a brick “ in the wall that he would like to see us all, collectively, erect together. Over his cup of coffee, the deacon smiles: “We’re not at the end of our troubles, but it feels good to do something. “


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