Director Francois Ozon holds aloft the Silver Bear grand jury prize for the film 'By the Grace of God' onstage at the award ceremony of the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

French judge refuses to block Catholic sex scandal movie

February 18, 2019 - 9:28 am

PARIS (AP) — A French judge has refused to block the release this week in French cinemas of a movie based on a Catholic sex scandal.

French director Francois Ozon's film "Grace a Dieu" ("By the Grace of God") won the Berlin Film Festival's jury grand prize on Saturday. The movie portrays French priest Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of molesting dozens of boys during the 1980s and '90s.

Preynat's lawyers say the picture depicted allegations against their client as facts and should be blocked because it does not respect the presumption of innocence. Preynat is now facing charges.

Lawyer Emmanuel Mercinier told The Associated Press the judge ruled Monday that messages in the film noting that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty were enough.

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