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Lyon bishop fires four paedophile priests as Church changes sex-abuse monitor

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Lyon Archbishop Philippe Barbarin Reuters/Robert Pratta/Files

The Archbishop of Lyon has fired four priests for child sex abuse as police investigate allegations that he failed to remove other paedophile priests in the past. The French Catholic Church on Friday changed the head of its anti-paedophilia unit and appointed a lay member as a full-time member of the body.


Lyon Archbishop Cardinal Philippe Barbarin relieved four unnamed priests of their functions on Thursday, following advice from a group of experts, including a judge, a psychiatrist and parents.

Other priests, who have already been convicted, are to be individually monitored.

All the cases are known to the judicial authorities, said the diocese, which has been rocked by scandal for more than six months following revelations that no action had been taken against several priests accused of sexual abuse over the course of many years.

A number of victims came forward after Bernard Preynat was charged in January with sexually abusing scouts between 1986 and 1991.

Barbarin, who allowed Preynat to remain in office until August 2015, has been accused of failing to report that case and others to the police, who questioned him for 10 hours on 8 June and could face charges.

The Lyon diocese has introduced new rules that mean that any priest guilty of sexual abuse of a minor at whatever date will be removed from his functions and any priest being investigated for the crime will be suspended while the inquiry is underway.

Reshuffle in child abuse monitoring body

In April the Church declared its intention to bring cases of abuse to light and set up a special unit, the CPLP, to handle them.

On Friday it announced that Bishop Luc Crépy, 58, who has only been a bishop for about a year, would replace Bishop Stanislas Lalanne, 68.

Hailing a "new generation" the Church authorities insisted that Lalanne has asked for the change and said it was not the result of criticism following an interview in which he seemed reluctant to qualify paedophilia as a sin.

For the first time a lay member, Ségolaine Moog, has been appointed full-time to the CPLP, which is supposed to oversee victims support and improve training of clerics and congregations on the question.

An email address for victims to contact was established in April and a website is to go online, possibly next week.