This article uncovers a sodomy scandal that took place in the Benedictine Abbey of Morigny, on the eve of the French Wars of Religion, in order to tackle an apparently simple yet persistent question in the history of early modern criminal justice. Why, despite all of the formal and informal obstacles in their way, did plaintiffs bring charges before a criminal court in this period? The article investigates the sodomy scandal that led to the conviction and public execution of the abbey’s porter Pierre Logerie, known as ‘the gendarme of Morigny’, and situates it in the wider patterns of criminal justice as well as the developing spiritual crisis of the civil wars during the mid-sixteenth century. Overall, this article demonstrates how criminal justice in this period could prove useful to plaintiffs in resolving their disputes, even in crimes as scandalous and difficult to articulate as sodomy, but only when the interests of local elites strongly aligned with those of the criminal courts where the plaintiffs sought justice.
Hamilton, T. (2021). A Sodomy Scandal on the Eve of the French Wars of Religion. Historical Journal, 64(4), 844-864. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0018246x20000564