A heritage spent on homes and cars after thirty years in the historic church of Saint-Germain-des-Près, in the heart of the French capital
He pocketed the offerings of the faithful. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison with parole Georges C., the sacristan of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Près, the oldest in Paris. It is here, in the heart of the left bank, a stone's throw from the Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, that one of the most chic areas of Paris is located. With offers generally up to the reputation of the neighborhood that has become economically prohibitive over the years, so much so that in the baskets it is possible to find tickets of 50 or 100 euros. But the Gothic abbey is also very popular with tourists, at least before the pandemic hindered free movement in Europe. Arrived from Syria in the late 1980s, Georges C. became a friend of the parish priest, who proposed a job to him and his wife. While he was in charge of supervising the functions, preparing the liturgical objects, flowers, candles, bells, his wife was active in the kitchen for the priests.
According to the newspaper Le Monde, the couple had 'service' accommodation and pocketed about 4,000 euros in monthly salary. The parish trusted him blindly. This is why, among other things, he was entrusted with a colleague to count the offers. Various sums of money were collected at his home, including many foreign currencies. Bank statements showed bank transfers for over 100,000 euros for the year 2017 alone. Nine vehicles in his name, including an Audi convertible, a Peugeot 508, a Renault Espace and two caravans. The couple also owns four apartments in Paris, another in Charenton-le-Pont (Val-de-Marne), a residence in Palaiseau (Essonne). But Georges C. is also a member of four companies, including one in the "petroleum additives" field. The beginning of the end begins in November 2017, when the parish priest has the impression that the offerings of the faithful are in sharp decline. The suspicions immediately go to Georges.
The bags of money
The police are warned, a bailiff photographs the sacks of money before he counts them, unaware of everything, the annotated banknote stubs discreetly marked with a green line. Stopped at the exit from the church by plainclothes officers, Georges C. surprised with 490 euros, of which 320 marked green. Before the court, on Wednesday, the sixty-two-year-old accused recognized the theft of the 320 euros. "The parish priest had put my wife part-time after 17 years of service. I just wanted revenge, nothing more," he said. As for the rest, he continued, "I'm smart, I know how to find opportunities". He ensured that the cars were purchased through particular channels not on the market and that the apartments were also acquired at low cost. A year after his dismissal, the proceeds from the offers still increased by 80,000 euros. It is the only damage that the parish claims to the accused for the year 2017. Georges C. was sentenced to 18 months in prison with parole. The cars were impounded. To the diocese of Paris he will have to reimburse damages for 75,000 euros. Since his dismissal, the former sacristan has been working at a gas station in the suburb of Paris: 1,260 euros per month, plus his wife's 900 euros in unemployment benefits.