SEX SCANDAL: French Cardinal Convicted Of Covering Up Sex Abuse Allegations
As an embarrassing
scandal continues to rock the Catholic Church, another high-ranking French
Catholic cleric, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, has been convicted on Thursday for
failing to report allegations of sexual abuse in his diocese and said he would
submit his resignation to Pope Francis.
Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon and the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the child sex abuse scandal inside the French Catholic Church, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence.
The court in Lyon ruled that between July 2014 and June 2015 Barbarin covered up allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by a priest, who is due to go on trial later this year.
Barbarin was not present for the verdict but his lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said he would appeal the ruling.
He denied concealing allegations that Father Bernard Preynat abused dozens of boys more than a decade before he arrived in the Lyon diocese in 2002.
Preynat has admitted sexual abuse, according to his lawyer.
Barbarin told a brief news conference he would travel to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis in the next few days and resign.
The victims and their families were in his prayers, he added.
There was no immediate word from the Vatican on whether Francis would accept the resignation, which could remove Barbarin from his post as archbishop but leave him with the rank of cardinal.
Prosecutors in Lyon had previously investigated Barbarin but dropped the probe in mid-2016 without a detailed explanation, Reuters reports.
However, an association of alleged victims called Parole Liberee (Freed Word) used a provision of French law to compel the cardinal to stand trial.
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