Magistrate, Catherine Katz was an examining magistrate in Tarbes, president of the Court of Assizes of Paris but also for three years the general secretary of Miviludes, the interministerial mission of vigilance and fight against sectarian aberrations. Retired, she has just been elected head of Unadfi, the national union of associations for the defense of families and individuals who are victims of sects. Interview.
What is your assessment of the sectarian threat today in France?
What should first be noted is its evolution in recent years: it has both grown and diversified, as noted by Miviludes in a recent report. More than 4000 referrals received in 2021: this was 33% more than the previous year but above all 86% more than in 2015! We are therefore faced with a growing rise which had begun even before the Covid crisis, a crisis which has not helped, conspiracy or antivax theories being able to push the most fragile towards sectarian ideologies, in the name of breaking with “the established order”. But the problem today is also that the threat is more diffuse. The well-known gurus and large international pyramid organizations are no longer the only ones emptying the pockets of their victims and destroying families…
Are you referring to the wellness market?
Absolutely, and to that of “alternative” health, which has also become an area where “slippers” can prosper, to use the word of the Lourdes whistleblower Guy Rouquet, the first to have denounced deviant therapies. Fifteen days or a few weekends of training at €1,500 per session and anyone can claim to hang a “DIY therapy” plaque to solve health problems in place of doctors who have completed 7 to 10 years of study. The result is people who find themselves on the street financially but also broken. But what is particularly worrying is that this charlatanism also penetrates the business world, through the speeches of “personal development”, in particular.
Retired from the judiciary in 2020, is this what prompted you to “re-stack” at Unadfi?
Not only. Yes, I know these cases well and I can bring my experience, but beyond that, it is the absolute need to help the families and the victims that motivated me. With the exception of my three years at Miviludes, I have spent my entire career in criminal justice. The investigation and the trial are a time of listening and reparation for the victims and their families. However, in the face of sects whose first step is to separate the victim from his relatives in order to establish the grip by brainwashing which will make him lose his freedom of conscience, which will make him feel guilty if he doubts, the families are totally helpless. . The mission and the duty of Unadfi are therefore to help them and in doing so help the victim, too.
What will be your priority?
I have just been elected and the subject is vast… But minors are now part of the priorities, as is the fight against the techniques of “false memories induced” in the memory of the victims. It is a very delicate subject but which also directly affects justice.
When certain gurus or “derapists” want to take control of a person, they will make her believe that she was the victim of sexual abuse in her early childhood in her family, at an age when, by definition, she cannot not remember it. They will then convince the victim that these “rapes” are the source of their discomfort and thus separate them from their loved ones. It is extremely perverse because starting from a real problem of society, credible, the victim also becomes a victim of the lie that is imposed on him and it is necessary to train investigators, magistrates and lawyers to detect these deleterious practices.