French cardinal guilty of abuse cover-up

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon pauses at the courthouse Jan. 7 in Lyon. Cardinal Barbarin and others are on trial for failing to discipline a local priest who allegedly abused children while running a Scout group in the 1980s. (CNS photo/Emmanuel Foudrot, Reuters) See FRANCE-ABUSE-COVERUP-TRIAL Jan. 7, 2019.

France’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, the cardinal Philippe Barbarin, has been given a six-month suspended sentence for his role in covering up the sexual abuse of minors.

Barbarin was found guilty of failing to report allegations of assaults by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s.

He denied the charges. His lawyers now say he will appeal against the verdict. Barbarin’s sentencing comes as the Catholic Church reckons with a new wave of abuse scandals.

Barbarin, who held the position of Archbishop of Lyon, was not present for the verdict. During the trial, he told the court: “I cannot see what I am guilty of. I never tried to hide, let alone cover up these horrible facts.”

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