As well as killing children, Gilles also sexually assaulted them. Gilles’s page, Poitou, later testified under oath to his master’s sexual crimes. âHe declared that the said Gilles de Rais, in order to practice his libidinous pleasures on the said children, both boys and girls, first took his member in his hand and stroked it until it was erect, then placed it between the thighs of the said boys and girls, rubbing his member on the bellies of the said boys and girls with great delight, vigor, and libidinous pleasure until the sperm was ejaculated on their bellies’.
Sexually assaulting the children was second to murder in terms of the pleasure it brought Gilles. Another accomplice revealed at Gilles’s trial that, âhe took more pleasure in the murder of the said children, and in seeing their heads and limbs separated from their body, in seeing them die and their blood flow, than in having carnal knowledge of them’. Perhaps the sexual abuse was part of the torture that Gilles inflicted upon the unfortunate minors: rape, after all, had long been used as a terror tactic by medieval armies when putting down rebellions or invading other countries.
Child murder, pedophilia, Satanism. Gilles’s accusers really threw everything at him that they could. But there is one more charge against de Rais that we have not yet mentioned: necrophilia. According to Poitou, âGilles de Rais sometimes committed his vices… after hanging them up… after he had cut, or caused to be cut, the vein in the neck or the throat so that the blood gushed out; and other times it was as they were dying; other times it was after they were dead and their heads had been cut off, while there remained some warmth in their body’.