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France’s most senior cleric on trial over silence in child abuse

France’s most senior cleric on trial over silence in child abuse
By Euronews
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Cardinal Barbarin facing demand for symbolic damages


France’s most senior cleric will go on trial this week - accused of failing to denounce the activities of a suspected paedophile priest.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and five of his colleagues are blamed for staying silent in the case of Father Preynat - who allegedly abused more than 70 Scouts 25 years ago.

It is at Lyon’s Correctional Court that the trial will begin on Monday. Cardinal Barbarin is accused of failing to report sexual assaults by a priest on young Scouts between 1986 and 1991.

François Devaux is one of the alleged victims - it is through him the case came to light and he’s now created a victim support group “La parole libérée”. He says the abuse he suffered has transformed his life.

“The trauma is... I don't want to say definitive”, he says. “But it certainly changes your life, it's undeniable, even for the luckier ones - and I think I count myself among them - my life will have been marked forever and my activism today is proof of it. Cardinal Barbarin is a litigant like everyone else and he must be judged for his actions. There is no emotion, no anger, there is just the need for tomorrow's children not to relive what we have seen and the horror it has caused."

"La parole libérée " is seeking a symbolic euro in damages - saying its main concern is to highlight the responsibility of those in authority. Cardinal Barbarin’s lawyers say they won’t be making any statement ahead of the trial.

It’s scheduled to last until Wednesday.

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