“Don't rush to judgment”

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He defends himself: Swiss Bishop Charles Morerod rejects accusation of cover-up in sexual abuse case. Justice and media "did not follow the same timetable," a recent statement said.

Morerod, according to the statement ied Sunday evening by the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, "emphatically denies having covered up abuse or covered up for the perpetrators". Several investigations are underway, and justice is "preferred to haste," he said. Preliminary measures have been taken, it said; the "necessary decisions" will be made as soon as the results of the investigations are known.

The Zurich-based "Tagesanzeiger" had accused Morerod of failing to clear up a case of abuse. Although he had received files on an alleged sexual assault years ago, he apparently ignored the dossier and only now suspended the pastor in question.

An accusation dating back almost 20 years

The diocese thereupon communicated first, one had learned from one nearly 20 years past accusation, which needs a clarification. According to the "Tagesanzeiger", Morerod had already had the relevant dossier since 2011. The newspaper accused him of now acting "only under prere from the public".

The diocese now stated that Morerod had passed on all the information available to him to the police, "in November and gradually after new findings became known". A police investigation is underway, he said.

The bishop literally: "The appointment of a priest with knowledge of such facts would not only be wrong, but also stupid." However, a further internal investigation would have to clarify the following facts: the non-disclosure of information, "lack of judgment, and disappearance of documents".

In view of the ongoing investigations, concludes that it is "better to let justice prevail than to pass a hasty judgment". Bishop Morerod won't comment on the ie again until the results are in.

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Christina Cherry
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