The trial of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon has been postponed until October. He has been reported for failing to report sexual assaults in the late 1980s by ten victims of a pedophile priest.
Not all documents have been translated yet, French media reported Thursday in Paris. The trial and sentencing were scheduled for early April. Victims accuse Barbarin of not following up on related allegations against the priest, Bernard Preynat, in 2007.
In total, he is said to have assaulted at least 70 children. The Spanish prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, had also attended a hearing in September, as well as other representatives of the Archdiocese of Lyon.
Accusations also against Ladaria
The French newspaper Le Figaro reported in September that Ladaria, in his previous post, also at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had advised Barbarin in writing to "take the necessary disciplinary steps while avoiding a public scandal". Now he also faces accusations of "complicity," the newspaper said, because he did not explicitly ask the cardinal to involve the civil authorities.
Barbarin admitted mistakes
In mid-August, Barbarin had admitted in an interview with the newspaper "Le Monde" to mistakes in dealing with reports of sexual abuse. His actions in 2007 were "not appropriate" to the seriousness of the incidents, the French primate said. Today, the priest in question should not continue to officiate, Barbarin said. The cardinal called his own behavior at the time a mistake, especially toward the victims. At the same time, he stressed he had "covered up absolutely nothing". This word is "inadmissible" in the context, she said.
It is not the only case of which the archbishop of Lyon is accused. Barbarin had already been investigated in 2016 for failing to report sexual assaults. At the time, the prosecutor's office dropped the case after a few months; there had been no evidence of a crime on his part.