Testimony #1 Joh, who has taken refuge in England, talks on behalf of 14 families who saw their lives destroyed in June 1993 when the police raided their center:
Most of the families I’m speaking for today are now missionaries in other parts of the world, in South Africa or elsewhere, and could not be here.
In 1981 ADFI [Association de Defense de la Famille et de l’Individu, a French « anti-cult » group] lodged a complaint against ‘La Famille’. This resulted in a police raid against two of our communities in the south of France in 1993. The police intrusion was violent and the policemen were armed. 80 of our children were put into social care. 22 adults were arrested and then released in the following 48 hours. The pretext for this raid was that we were suspected of sexual abuse towards the children. But, in fact, the police officers have admitted that their purpose was to destroy ‘La Famille’ at the European level. The social services kept many of the children for two months. The files regarding these children were forwarded to varions judges who all concurred that there was no sexual abuse. All the children were sent back to their parents and their families, but an accusation of incitement of minors to vice was still made against the adults. A lawsuit continued for several years but no proof came to light. In January 1999, after a prosecutor’s recommendation, the judge decided to close the case. He declared that there was no reason to carry on examining this complaint and go to court. ADFI went into appeal and on 24th February 2000 this appeal was rejected.
When these raids happened in our centers in 1993, the media were there. But where are they now that they know these accusations were false and unfounded? In 1993, the judges said that there was no reason to sue ‘La Famille’, but in the governmental report of 1996 the French government representatives declared : « It is well known by everybody that the members of « God’s Family » often practice prostitution and incest. » This report relayed the misinformation put out by the anti-cuit groups. All this has shaken the members of `La Famille’. It also had an impact on our friends: In addition to raids against two of our communities in France there have also been raids against ten private houses, homes of people who were our friends or connected with us one way or the other. To protect our children and ourselves, we have to live outside of France.
Testimony #2 Milcah is the mother of a large family. Her 7 children were taken away from her for several weeks.
As a Christian missionary for La Famille, we have been led to travel a lot and we have sometimes experienced difficulties in countries which were more or less welcoming. But I have to say, as a French citizen, that it is on French soil that I have had my most traumatizing experience.
It was in June 1993 and that moming, at 6 a.m., we were suddenly woken up as our house was surrounded by 50 members of the police force, armed to the teeth with bullet-proof jackets and police dogs. They violently knocked at our door. In a few seconds, the occupants were immobilized in each room and threatened with semi-automatic weapons. The policemen obviously expected to find us armed and dangerous, yet we are against violence in all forms. I wanted to rush to comfort my 4-year-old daughter who was sitting on her bed crying with her amis towards me. I was violently pushed back on my bed and yelled at while a–woman with a uniform took my daughter by force from the bed she was holding onto. At the same time my daughter could see us in handcuffs and under threat of amis. All the children of the house were sent up to the policemen’s wagon in their paj amas.
During the 48 hours of close watch and interrogations, where we were accused of the worst things, we were told lies to make us weaker and to make us confess things we were not guilty of. I was insulted, demeaned, spoken to in a gross manner and alter eight hours of arrest I was hardly allowed to have a sandwich and a coffee. During the interrogation, I could not find out what was happening to my children. I was worried as I have a son who had a high fever the night before. The children underwent several examinations from pediatricians, gynecologists, psychiatrists and psychologists. At the time, my daughters were 6, 11 and 13 years old. Today, they still think of these humiliating examinations as a nightmare. They were told all kinds of horrible things about their parents: that we would not see them again, that we did not love them and would never try to see them again. They were placed in a State institution and it took a month to get them back.