Probe opened after a French cardinal admits to abusing 14-year-old girl decades ago

Probe opened after a French cardinal admits to abusing 14-year-old girl decades ago

Jean-Pierre Ricard publicly admitted that he had abused a girl years ago.

French prosecutors in Marseille said on Tuesday that a probe has been launched a day after a French cardinal admitted that he abused a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago.

Jean-Pierre Ricard publicly admitted that he had abused a girl years ago. His statement was read out during a press conference by Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, who is the president of the Bishops' Conference of France.

A senior church body announced that 11 former or serving French bishops have been accused of sexual violence, including Ricard, who was made a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2016 and he said that he would withdraw from his functions.

Ricard said in a statement: "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."

Probe opened after a French cardinal admits to abusing 14-year-old girl decades ago
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As a probe has been opened now, Ricard could also face charges as in France, the most serious sexual offences in France such as rape usually have a statute of limitations of 30 years. But, in case the victim was a minor at the time of the offence, the period to bring charges can be extended.

In France, the maximum period for charges of sexual abuse of a minor is usually 20 years from the date at which the victim turns 18. Meanwhile, prosecutor Dominique Laurens told the news agency AFP in Marseille: "A preliminary enquiry has been started to verify the facts of this revelation."

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