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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cardinal in court accused of cover-up

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Cardinal in court for not reporting crime


The French priest, Bernard Preynat was said to have attacked at least 70 children in the 1980s. Ten of the victims claimed that Cardinal Philippe Barbarin knew about it at the time.

Lyon’s Cardinal Philippe Barbarin has been heard by the court on Tuesday for not reporting sexual assaults. However, he did not appear personally but was represented by his lawyer. The main hearing will take place from 4 April 2018, as the court reported on Tuesday; the verdict is to be announced on 6 April. The complainants are ten victims of a paedophile priest and former scout master from the second half of the 80s. They accuse Barbarin of not having followed up the accusations against the priest,Bernard Preynat, in 2007. Overall, he could have assaulted around 70 children.

The newspaper "Le Figaro" reported in the evening further details of the "very technical" preliminary hearings. Five other representatives of the Archdiocese of Lyon, as well as the new Spanish prefect of the Vatican Confederation of the Congregations, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, are therefore invited to make statements. The newspaper reports that Ladaria, in his former post, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had communicated to Barbarin in writing "to take the necessary disciplinary steps and at the same time to avoid a public scandal". Now the accusation of "complicity" is also being made against him, according to the newspaper, since he had not expressly requested the Cardinal to intervene with the civil authorities.

In 2016, other proceedings against Barbarin were suspended. Already in 2016, the Court had ruled against Barbarin for not reporting sexual assaults of another paedophile priest. At that time, the prosecutor's office stopped the proceedings after a few months; there was no evidence of a criminal offense on his part. In the middle of August, the Cardinal had admitted mistakes in dealing with sexual abuse reports when interviewed by the newspaper "Le Monde". According to the French Prime Minister, his action in 2007 was "not appropriate" to the seriousness of the incidents. Today, the priest concerned is no longer allowed to continue working, says Barbarin. The Cardinal described his own conduct at that time as a mistake, especially with respect to the victims. At the same time, he emphasized that he had "absolutely covered nothing up". This word is "inadmissible" in the context.

Barbarin said that the priest in question had claimed that in 2007 that nothing had happened since 1991. He had checked this and left the priest in office. "Some say that this is not possible because misbehavers invariably follow a repeating pattern," the primate said. In fact, however, nothing has so far been placed on the record. (CBA)

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