The seven defendants, including another archbishop and a bishop, would face up to three years in prison and a 45,000-euro ($53,000) fine if found guilty of failing to report the priest’s crimes. The penalty would be increased to up to five years in prison and a 75,000-euro ($88,000) fine for those convicted of failing to assist a person in danger. (Associated Press)
A French court has set a date in early 2019 for the criminal trial of a French cardinal and a high-ranking Vatican prelate suspected of covering up a child sex abuse scandal in the eastern diocese of Lyon.
Victims of a priest who has confessed to preying on them have summoned Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, Monsignor Luis Ladaria Ferrer, head of a powerful office in the Vatican, and five other Catholic Church officials to appear together in court for allegedly being informed of the priest’s past abuses and not reporting them to authorities.
A Lyon court on Wednesday set the trial to January 7-9. The lawsuit is the most prominent church sex abuse case to date in France.
Barbarin and some of the other defendants will also be tried for leaving the priest in contact with children until he retired in 2015, while knowing he had a history of sexual assaults.
The 67-year-old cardinal, one of the highest-ranking figures in the French Catholic Church, has admitted some “mistakes” in the management and nominations of certain priests but denied any attempt to cover up the case. Pope Francis has lent his support to Barbarin, saying he was a “brave” man.
By Philippe Sotto, Associated Press — Read more …