France’s biggest church abuse trial starts
Cardinal accused of failing to protect children from alleged abuse in ’70s, ’80s Seven die in shooting in Mexico’s Riviera Maya resort city of Playa del Carmen
LYON, FRANCE—A Catholic cardinal and five other people went on trial Monday accused of covering up for a pedophile priest who abused Boy Scouts — France’s most important church sex abuse case to date.
The case poses a new challenge to the Vatican, amid growing demands in overwhelmingly Catholic France for a reckoning with decades of sexual abuse by the clergy.
Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 68, appeared in a Lyon court Monday along with other senior church officials accused of failing to protect children from alleged abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat. The top Vatican official in charge of sex abuse cases, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, is among the accused — but won’t appear in court because the Vatican invoked his diplomatic immunity.
Nine people who said the priest abused them in the 1970s and 1980s brought the case to court, and hope it marks a turning point in efforts to hold the French church hierarchy accountable for hushing up abuse. The victims say top clergy were aware of Preynat’s actions for years, but allowed him to be in contact with children until his 2015 retirement.
Despite nationwide attention on the case, it may fall Lyon archbishop, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin appeared in court along with other senior church officials accused of failing to protect children from alleged abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat.
apart for legal reasons. Prosecutors initially threw out it out for insufficient evidence. Barbarin’s lawyer says his client never obstructed justice because the statute of limitations had passed on the acts in question by the time Barbarin was informed.
“Accusing an innocent man
doesn’t advance a cause,” lawyer Jean-Felix Luciani said.
After the judge had read out the lengthy accusations, Barbarin took the stand to maintain his innocence. He said he had encouraged one of the alleged victims to get in contact with other victims and “thanks to that” evidence
against Preynat was able to be built.
If found guilty of failing to report the priest’s actions, the defendants could face up to three years in prison and a 45,000-euro ($51,300) fine. Barbarin and some other defendants are also charged with failing to assist a person
The case is a new test for Pope Francis, whose blind spot on clergy sex abuse has threatened his legacy and thrown the Catholic hierarchy into a credibility crisis. Barbarin among church’s most powerful figures. More at thestar.com/world MEXICO CITY—Seven men have been killed in a shooting attack at a bar in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort city of Playa del Carmen, authorities said Monday.
State and local police said the attack occurred late Sunday at the “Las Virginias” bar in a low-income section relatively far from the beachside tourist zone. Six men were found shot to death in the bar, and another died at a local hospital.
One man was wounded but survived the attack. He told police he was drinking beer with friends when gunshots broke out.
Playa del Carmen is located on the coast facing the island of Cozumel, Mexico’s leading cruise ship destination.
Once a quiet fishing and ferry town, Playa del Carmen has grown exponentially in the last two decades, with lower-income neighbourhoods springing up on the inland side of the coastal highway.
The resort is midway between Cancun, to the north, and Tulum, to the south, in the coastal state of Quintana Roo, which has seen homicides more than double in the last year, with 688 killings in the first 11 months of 2018, compared to 322 in the same period of 2017.
More at thestar.com/world