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French court hands cardinal 6-month suspended sentence for not reporting child abuse allegations

A Lyon court on Thursday found top Catholic official Cardinal Philippe Barbarin guilty of failing to report accusations against a pedophile priest to authorities. In a surprise decision in France’s most important church sex abuse trial, the court handed Barbarin a six-month suspended prison sentence for not reporting allegations of child abuse in the period between July 2014 and June 2015. The Rev. Bernard Preynat’s alleged victims said Barbarin and other church officials covered up for him for years, AP reports. The statute of limitations had expired on some charges and even the victims had expected that the cardinal would be acquitted. The prosecutor had also argued against convicting, saying there were no grounds to prove legal wrongdoing. Preynat has confessed to abusing Boy Scouts in the 1970s and 80s and will be tried separately.