Investigation clears bishop in sex abuse case
A Catholic bishop has been cleared of allegations that he tolerated a case of sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese in western Switzerland.
A church inquiry into the internal communication found that Bishop Charles Morerod was unaware of the seriousness of the accusations.
The bishop had been briefed by the chief of staff but without being given information about the possible scope of the abuse, church officials said on Wednesday.
The case concerns a former priest who is accused of having sexually abused a 17-year-old and molested a fellow priest between 1998 and 2011.
Confronted with the accusations, the defendant last month submitted his resignation.
Morerod said he had been told about the reported abuse, but the cases had been “downplayed”. He added that such accusations were taken more seriously by the church.
A second investigation, also published on Wednesday, found that the suspected misdemeanours of the priest at Fribourg Cathedral were “isolated cases”.
No exact figures are available, but observers say the number of reported cases of abuse involving Catholic priests and monks have been increasing over the past few years.
The payment of financial compensation for victims of abuse totalled CHF675,000 ($718,000) in 2018 – up from CHF425,000 in the previous year – according to figures released by the Vatican News.