Swiss Catholic Church abuse report delivered to Vatican

Swissinfo [Bern, Switzerland]

February 3, 2024

By Keystone-SDA/RTS

The Vatican has received a report on an investigation into allegations that members of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference tried to cover up abuse in the Catholic Church. 

The Bishop of Chur, Joseph Bonnemain, has submitted the report covering accusations of harassment and covering up alleged abuse. 

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The documentation collected as part of the preliminary canonical investigation, mandated in June 2023 by the Vatican, totals 1,800 pages, the bishopric of Chur said in a press release on Friday. A 24-page final report contains a series of conclusions and recommendations for Vatican officials. 

The bishopric of Chur has not provided information on the concrete results of the preliminary canonical investigation. Questioned by the Keystone-ATS agency, Nicole Büchel, communications manager, explained that she did not receive authorisation from Rome to reveal the content of the report. 

With the submission of the report, Bonnemain’s mission is complete, the diocese said. “The files will now be studied at the Vatican, which could take some time.” Those responsible for the Roman Curia will then draw their conclusions, make decisions and communicate them in an appropriate form. 

Bishop Bonnemain was commissioned by Rome to investigate the behaviour of four members of the Bishops’ Conference due to possible omissions of abuse reports. For a fifth member of the episcopal conference, it was a question of shedding light on alleged acts of sexual harassment. 

According to the press release, Nicolas Betticher, former vicar general of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Friborg denounced the wrongful behaviour of certain Swiss bishops. 

For his preliminary investigation, Bonnemain was supported in his work by Pierre Cornu, cantonal judge of Neuchâtel, and by Brigitte Tag, professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at the University of Zurich.