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Paris (CNSNews.com) – The biggest trial in France to date dealing with alleged sex abuse in the Catholic Church looks likely to end in acquittal, after the prosecutor declined to press for a conviction against a cardinal accused of protecting a priest suspected of having abused young boys in the 1980s and 90s.
Earlier the Vatican declined to allow the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Spanish Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, to testify in the trial in Lyon, citing diplomatic immunity.
Trial - Cardinal - Lyon - Philippe - Barbarin
On trial are Cardinal of Lyon Philippe Barbarin and five former members of his diocese, whose actions when made aware in 2014 of the earlier alleged abuse of boy scouts came under scrutiny.
Prosecutor Charlotte Trabut told the court this week that the statute of limitations had run out on charges of failing to help a person in danger.
Decision - Surprise - Office - Inquiry - Reasons
The decision was not a surprise because her office had dismissed a preliminary inquiry for the same reasons in 2016. But French law allows victims to press ahead with a trial anyway, which they decided to do in this case.
“Even if there is no conviction this trial has provided an opportunity to show the complicity of Catholic dignitaries in this case of pedophilia,” an association representing the accusers, La Parole Libérée, said afterwards.
Barbarin - March - Judge - Trabut - Decision
Barbarin will only know on March 7 if the judge agrees with Trabut’s decision or decides to convict him on courts on not helping a person in danger and non-disclosure of sexual assault of a minor.
Alexandre Hezez, now 44, was first to accuse Father Bernard Preynat of sexually assaulting him at ages eight to 11.
Hezez - Barbarin - Accusations
Hezez testified that he had approached Barbarin in 2014 with his accusations but was...
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