Catholic World News

French archbishop admits ‘inadequate’ response to abuse complaints

August 14, 2017

Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, has admitted to an “inadequate” response to reports of sexual abuse by a priest of his archdiocese. But the archbishop insists that he never covered up evidence of abuse.

In an interview with the daily Le Monde, Archbishop Barbarin said that he first learned about reports of past abuse by Father Bernard Preynat in 2007, five years after he became Archbishop of Lyon. (Father Preynat had been returned to active ministry by a previous archbishop, despite a record of abuse.) “I myself relize that my response at the time was inadequate,” Archbishop Barbarin said. Today, he added, no priest with such a record would be allowed into public ministry in Lyon.

Archbishop Barbarin had come under heavy criticism when new complaints against Father Preynat arose. The priest faces criminal charges for molesting adolescent boys during the 1980s and 1990s; he has admitted to the abuse. After an investigation, a prosecutor concluded that there was no basis for criminal charges against Archbishop Barbarin in the case.


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