Lyon, France, Jan 30, 2020 / 07:45 am
Cardinal Philippe Barbarin has been acquitted by a French appeals court of failing to report sexual abuse by a diocesan priest. The Archbishop of Lyon was convicted in March, 2019, of "of non-denunciation of ill-treatment" of a minor and given a six-month suspended prison sentence.
The decision Jan. 30 by the appeals court in Lyon was reached after prosecutors in the case sought the Cardinal's vindication. The cardinal's lawyer called the result "logical," saying that Barbarin had been the subject of "calumny" over the course of the trial.
At the time of his conviction in March last year, five other archdiocesan officials on trial with Barbarin were acquitted. Barbarin's acquittal was widely expected on appeal after the prosecutor in the case argued there was no proof of the cardinal's legal wrongdoing and therefore no grounds for conviction.
Barbarin was accused of not reporting instances of abuse to judicial authorities between July 2014 and June 2015, in a case involving Fr. Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of abusing dozens of minors in the 1980s and early 90s.