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French cardinal likely to be cleared in abuse cover-up trial

The Associated Press

LYON, France (AP) France's most important church sex abuse trial to date is likely to end in acquittal for a cardinal and other senior Catholic officials accused of protecting a pedophile priest.

The Rev. Bernard Preynat's alleged victims say church hierarchy covered up for him for years. But by the time the cover-up trial reached court in Lyon this week, the statute of limitations had expired on some charges.

Even the prosecutor argued Wednesday against convicting Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and other church officials, saying there were no grounds to prove legal wrongdoing.

The trial ends Thursday. Barbarin faces up to three years in prison, and fines if convicted.

In emotional proceedings, several men recounted their fear and shame after alleged abuse. The priest confessed to abusing Boy Scouts and is being tried separately.

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