Barbarin appeals conviction in Catholic Church sex abuse case

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By Euronews
Barbarin appeals conviction in Catholic Church sex abuse case
Copyright  REUTERS

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is appealing his conviction for failing to act on sexual abuse in his diocese.

The highest-profile French cleric in the Catholic Church implicated in the abuse scandal, 68-year-old Barbarin received a six-month suspended sentence in March for failing to report allegations of the sexual abuse of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s. Father Bernard Preynat, the priest accused of the offences, is due to go on trial in January.

Barbarin has been Archbishop of Lyon since 2002 and was once tipped as a possible future pope.

"Horrible acts"

He has always denied the allegations, telling the court he never sought to cover up these "horrible acts”.

His appeal is based on the argument that it was not his role to refer the case to the authorities, since the alleged victims were adults at the time of the complaint and could have done it themselves.

He also claims to have informed the Vatican and was told to take care of the situation without causing a scandal.

Resignation refused

Father Preynat has admitted sexually abusing underage boys in the 1980s and 1990s. His victims believe Church officials knew of the abuse as early as 1990, when Preynat was moved to a different parish.

Following his conviction, Barbarin tendered his resignation but Pope Francis refused to accept it, pending his appeal.

Euronews correspondent Valerie Gauriat has been following the case from the outset - watch the report in the player above