French cardinal to go on trial over child abuse cover-up

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Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, is to stand trial along with five others over claims they helped cover up abuse in local parish.

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The highest-profile Catholic cleric to be caught up in a paedophile scandal in France is to go on trial on Monday charged with failing to report a priest who abused boy scouts in the 1980s and 90s, reports FRANCE 24.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, is to stand trial along with five others from his diocese over allegations that they helped cover up abuse in one of the parishes in the area.

The 68-year-old, an arch-conservative, is one of the most prominent Catholic figures in France who faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($54,000) if convicted of failing to report the abuse.

He denies the allegations.

France's Catholic church has been roiled in recent years by allegations against predator priests which have come to light in the wake of a global move by victims to come forward with evidence.

Clerics have been denounced in countries as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, and the United States, leading Pope Francis to promise to rid the church of the scourge that has done enormous damage to its standing.

The scandal in Lyon first came to public attention in 2015 when a former scout went public with allegations that a local priest, Bernard Preynat, had abused him as a child 25 years ago.

The scandal in Lyon first came to public attention in 2015 when a former scout went public with allegations that a local priest, Bernard Preynat, had abused him as a child 25 years ago.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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