11 French bishops accused of sexual abuse, Catholic Church says

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PARIS — 8 former French bishops were accused of sexual abuse and three extra of non-denunciation of abuse, the French bishops’ convention stated Monday, signaling that some high-level Catholic Church officers no longer handiest became a blind eye for many years however will have been perpetrators themselves.

Amongst the ones beneath investigation was once Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, a former head of the French bishops’ convention, who has admitted to abusing a 14-year-old lady when he was once a clergyman 35 years in the past.

“I behaved in a reprehensible manner,” Ricard, 78, wrote in a confession letter learn all over a information convention through Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the present president of the bishops’ convention.

Ricard retired in 2019 after just about twenty years as archbishop of Bordeaux, however he has maintained the identify of cardinal. He was once appointed this 12 months to quickly supervise the Roman Catholic Foyers de Charité group, which was once making adjustments after being rocked through sexual abuse scandals.

Monday’s revelations — which got here as church officers met for an annual convention — are “surprising, however no longer unexpected,” stated Zach Hiner, govt director of SNAP, a community of church abuse sufferers.

Probably the most accusations have been already identified, and anyplace unbiased commissions or church officers have appeared for proof of sexual abuse over previous many years, they have got tended to seek out instances on a shocking scale.

Final 12 months, a file from an unbiased French fee discovered that French Catholic clerics had abused greater than 200,000 minors during the last 70 years. The file estimated the choice of perpetrators to be a minimum of 3,000.

Catholic clergy in France most probably abused greater than 200,000 minors, unbiased fee estimates

“One doesn’t get to these forms of ranges with out there being important issues on the very most sensible,” stated Hiner, who stated abuse accusations towards “other people on the perfect ranges of the Catholic Church” have proliferated.

Final 12 months’s unbiased fee file in France accrued greater than 6,000 testimonies, together with from sufferers and witnesses, and several other instances have been forwarded to cops.

Moulins-Beaufort stated Monday that a minimum of one of the crucial accused bishops might be or were investigated through state government, together with parallel church investigations. However in instances the place the window of prosecution has closed, inside probes are the one choices.

Amongst sufferers organizations, the ones inside procedures have triggered requires better transparency.

“It may be somewhat opaque,” stated Hiner, criticizing instances through which bishops have been punished through the church “however with out a lot data given to parishioners and the general public as to why.”



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