Appeals court acquits French cardinal of sex abuse cover-up

Associated Press

January 30, 2020

A French appeals court on Thursday acquitted a French cardinal of covering up the sexual abuse of minors in his flock.

The appeals court in the southeastern French city of Lyon gave no explanation on Thursday for its ruling.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, had been convicted in March and given a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the cardinal’s decision to resign until the appeals process is complete.

The prosecutor’s office had sought the acquittal accorded by the court.

“This decision is logical,” one of Barbarin’s lawyer’s, Felix Luciani, said outside the courtroom. He said the cardinal had faced down “public rumor and calumny.”

Barbarin, 69, said at his appeals trial in November that he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”

The verdict comes at a time of increasing scrutiny around the world of the Catholic Church’s role in hiding abuse by its clergy.

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