Torrents de Vie: after investigation, the CNEF considers that there was no crime

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Under fire from criticism since the end of August following reports accusing it of practicing conversion therapy, the evangelical association Torrents de Vie was subjected to an independent internal investigation. According to the CNEF, the verdict of this investigation indicates that the crime known as “therapy of conversion" was not constituted by Torrents de Vie. 

An email sent to members of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) and affiliated churches, to which we had access, reveals the results of the independent investigation carried out within the evangelical association Torrents de Vie. 

No conversion therapy offense

The conclusions of this investigation, carried out "under the supervision of a lawyer, by two independent professionals", indicate "that the offense listed in article 225-4-13 of the Penal Code, known as 'therapy of conversion' has not been constituted on the part of Torrents de Vie and that there is a current absence of victims". The CNEF however specifies in this document that "certain practices need to be improved in the operation of Torrents de Life to ensure the welcome and support of Christians questioning their sexual orientation. 

The email also indicates that the CNEF Representative Committee "expressed to the Torrents de Vie association several recommendations aimed at clarifying the support offered and being able to guarantee the free and informed consent of participants who come for questions related to sexual orientation". The CNEF then wrote "recognize" that Torrents de Vie "provides a specific and useful concerning the spiritual life of the Christian, particularly in relation to sexual orientation". 

Last September, the communications director of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), Romain Choisnet, announced the decision of the CNEF Office to “trigger an independent internal investigation” following "recent reports concerning the Torrents de Vie association" which is a member of the evangelical organization.

As a reminder, on August 30, 2023, a report of a few minutes entitled "'CONVERSION THERAPIES': AT THE HEART OF A SEMINAR ORGANIZED THIS SUMMER IN FRANCE DESPITE THE BAN" was broadcast on BFMTV. A journalist from the channel had infiltrated with a hidden camera a seminar of the association organized in the south of France which proposed to "restore the relational and sexual identity" of the participants.

A report which had placed the organization under fire from criticism, in particular reacting to the Minister Delegate in charge of Equality between women and men and the fight against discrimination, Bérengère Couillard. The latter then declared that it “strongly” condemned these “intolerable” practices and requested that the Public Prosecutor be contacted to investigate the actions of Torrents de Vie. 

Faced with such an “important” and “sensitive” subject, the CNEF plans to publish a practical booklet “on the subject of pastoral support for sexual minorities to help those responsible for evangelical Protestant Churches face the challenges facing them” .

In January 2022, the evangelical body published a statement in which she reaffirmed “her commitment to the protection of people and her opposition to all forms of abuse, particularly those committed against people questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Shutterstock / Jack Wada

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