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French Catholic bishops accused of ‘covering-up sex abuses’

Pascal Pavani, AFP | French bishops gathered in Lourdes on November 7, 2016.

Twenty-five French bishops have been covering up scores of cases of sexual abuses by Catholic priests, French media revealed on Tuesday in a report reminiscent of the Spotlight investigation into clergy sex abuse.


Investigative reporters from the Mediapart website have identified 32 individuals, including 28 priests, who have been accused of committing sexual abuses from the 1960s up to today.

“Out of these 32 cases, 25 bishops, including five still in place, decided not to report them to judicial authorities after being alerted about these sexual abuses. In total, there are 339 suspected victims, forgotten by the French Church,” writes Mediapart.

'The mechanics of silence'

Reporters say they have compiled hundreds of documents, press clips, letters, testimonies and judicial reports to back up their claim.

A book about the alleged cover-up, Eglise, la mécanique du silence (“Church, the mechanics of silence”) is going to be released on March 22.

Most of the abusers have subsequently been charged and some of them sentenced over these sex crimes, Mediapart say.

Their report comes four months after French bishops pleaded for forgiveness over their “guilty silence” after the Archbishop of Lyon Philippe Barbarin came under attack for covering up the abuse of Scouts and failing to remove a priest who had sexually abused boys 25 years ago.

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