January 21, 2020
By Bradley Eli
Self-accused cleric says multiple cardinals knew of his crimes
A self-accused pedophile in France’s biggest clergy sex abuse trial is saying multiple Catholic superiors, including certain cardinals, were aware of his crimes but did not stop him.
Bernard Preynat, a priest of the diocese of Lyon, France is blowing the whistle on his Catholic leader, who enabled him to abuse minors for decades.
“Had the church sidelined me earlier, I would have stopped earlier,” testified Preynat, at his trial taking place last week in Lyon.
The archbishop of Lyon, Cdl. Phillipe Barbarin, was in charge of Preynat since 2002, but kept silent. Barbarin was convicted by a French court in 2019 of covering for Preynat’s crimes. Allegations of sex abuse against Preynat surfaced in 1991. The 68-year-old cardinal, however, kept Preynat in active ministry until 2015.
Preynat, who is 74, testified in court that his sexual obsession for young boys began when he was in his early teens and was well-known by his supervisor at that time, while he was in the minor seminary. He also says he told his bishop of his proclivities prior to his ordination.
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