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Bishop admits abusing a child; ten others also accused of sexual assaults

by Kelly Valencia

At least eleven former or serving bishops in the Catholic Church in France will potentially face either prosecution or church disciplinary action after being accused of sexual violence. 

The former bishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, has admitted to assaulting a 14-year-old, three decades ago. 

"Thirty-five years ago, when I was a parish priest, I behaved in a reprehensible way with a young girl aged 14. My behaviour has inevitably led to grave and lasting consequences for this person," Fr Jean-Pierre said in a statement. 

Although he retired as bishop in 2019, he is still a cardinal after Pope Francis announced his appointment in 2016. 

Fr Jean-Pierre asked for forgiveness and said he will collaborate with authorities.  

Speaking at a press conference, the president of the Bishops' Conference of France, Fr Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, told reporters ten other bishops are currently being investigated, including Fr Michel Santier, a former bishop in Creteil, near Paris. 

The accusations are the result of an independent investigation which revealed French clergy had sexually abuse more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.

The report, which concluded last year, accused the Church of turning blind eye for too long and urged it to pay compensation to victims. 

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