France’s top Catholic official, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, has been convicted for his role in a sex abuse cover-up, receiving a six-month suspended jail term.
Beynelxalq.Info reports citing AlJazeera.
The archbishop of Lyon, who was not in court, was found guilty on Thursday of failing to report the abuse of a minor by the Reverend Bernard Preynat between 2014 and 2015. Five other defendants were acquitted.
Barbarin, 68, is the most senior French official to be caught up in the global pedophilia scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church.
The suspended nature of the jail term means he will not serve time behind bars. His lawyers announced immediately that they would appeal the judgment.
“The reasoning of the court is not convincing,” lawyer Jean-Felix Luciani told reporters. “We will contest this decision by all the means possible.”
Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Lyon, said the case has damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church in France.
“It is an institution in crisis. Over the years, there are less and fewer followers. Fewer priests are ordained and in fact, the figures have really plunged over the past decade. It used to be about 800 new priests a year, now there are less than a hundred,” she said.