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French archbishop admits failings in response to pedophile scandal

From Reuters - August 12, 2017

PARIS (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon acknowledged shortcomings in his response to a pedophilia scandal in his archdiocese and said more rigorous checks were in place to prevent past errors in the appointment of priests being repeated.

In an interview with Le Monde, published ahead of the Aug. 15 Feast of the Assumption celebration, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin reiterated that he had never concealed acts of sexual abuse by Father Bernard Preynat, a priest under his authority.

Preynat is accused of sexually abusing Catholic boy scouts during the 1980s and early 1990s. He is due to appear before a court next month. Preynat's lawyer has said the priest admits the abuse but that the cases have passed the legal statute of limitations when they were reported.

Prosecutors in 2016 extensively questioned Barbarin, one of France's top Catholic clerics, over why Preynat's activities had not been reported to civil authorities earlier before dropping their investigation into allegations of a cover-up.

Barbarin told Le Monde he became aware of Preynat's activities in 2007. When he "knocked on doors" for advice nobody gave him a satisfactory answer, he said.

"I myself realize that my response at the time was inadequate," Barbarin told the newspaper.

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