Paedophile priest found free in Switzerland after conviction in Belgium
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    Paedophile priest found free in Switzerland after conviction in Belgium

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    A Swiss priest found guilty of abusing a minor in Belgium has been arrested in Switzerland, where he was living free despite being sentenced to prison in 2017.

    The Brussels Court of Appeal sentenced Frédéric Abbet to three years’ imprisonment after finding him guilty of sexually abusing a nine-year-old boy in a Brussels boarding school between 2010 and 2011.

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    Swiss regional daily Le Nouvelliste reported on Friday that the priest was found living free in the Swiss canton of Valais, years after he was sentenced.

    The unidentified priest was a member of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), an international priestly fraternity which has faced previous accusations of sexual abuse and cover-ups.

    The priest asked to serve his sentence in Switzerland, but, due to an administrative problem, he has not yet purged his sentence.

    Cantonal authorities in Valais reportedly have no trace of an application for the sentence to be purged in Switzerland.

    The priest maintains his innocence and was acquitted in the first instance, but the court of appeal in 2017 handed him an effective prison sentence of three years plus two years suspended.

    Following reports on Friday that he remained free, the priest was arrested on Saturday and put in pre-trial detention, Bruzz reports.

    Swiss authorities are said to be in contact with Belgian authorities to arrange for the convicted paedophile to execute his prison sentence in Belgium.

    Since 2004, two other members of the SSPX have been sentenced for sexual abuse and the society has been reported to have covered up the abuse of dozens of young people in several countries.

    In  2004, Mexican priest Uribe Silviano Bernabé, a member and a school headmaster for the society was sentenced by a Bordeaux court to one year in prison for sexually abusing a woman and a 13-year-old girl.

    In 2018, former schoolmaster principal Christophe Roisnel was sentenced to 19 years in prison by a Nanterre court for multiple counts of rape as well as acts of torture on female school teachers.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times