The Twelve Tribes once again in court for two cases
Sources: Unadfi 11/07/2023, South-West & France Bleue, 22/06/2023
Thursday, June 22, the Pau court looked into two cases involving ten parents members of the Twelve Tribes community, none of whom were present in the courtroom. They were prosecuted for illegal schooling and “forgery and use of forgery in registering their children for home education”. A mother was also tried for violence against her daughter.
The case already judged in 2021 was judged at the request of the defendants who were absent during their first conviction. This new hearing once again took place in their absence. Speaking through the voice of their lawyer, they stated that “all the parents of children no longer reside in the community because they are in breach of French law or at least expose themselves to criminal prosecution, therefore have chosen to leave France. ”
The investigation which began in 2014 gave rise to a search in 2019 during which the educational shortcomings of the children of the community came to light. Their teaching was based only on “homemade” manuals based on the Bible, without references external to the group so as to conform to the beliefs of the followers. The investigators had also noted significant educational deficiencies in the subjects of common core knowledge and the impossibility for the children to “develop a personal argumentation”.
During the June 22 hearing, Mrs Patricia Cocrelle, who represents the victims, wondered: “how can you put a figure on the harm and loss caused by these educational deficiencies which are much more serious than one can think? without knowledge, being totally conditioned, these children will not be able to become free and independent adults,” she added. She claimed 1,000 euros in damages per child and 1,500 more for the one who was beaten with a stick. This kind of beating is a common punishment in the group and one that the three accused members had defended, while under police custody, as a practice done for “educational purpose” and as “an act of love”.
At the end of the hearing, the prosecutor, Richard Pineau, asked for the same damages as the lawyer and requested six months suspended prison sentence for illegal schooling and four months more for the mother accused of violence.
The court will deliver its decision on September 7.
Translation from French by Rosemary Cruzado