Friday, 24 April 2015
On Thursday, the 20th Civil Chamber of Liège Court of Appeal ruled Archbishop Léonard must pay 10,000 euros in compensation to Joël Devillet, the victim of a pedophile abbot. The plaintiff sued the archbishop in a civil court case, claiming the archbishop had covered up the abuse. Joël Devillet was sexually abused by Abbot Hubermont in Aubange (Luxemburg) between 1987 and 1991, from the age of 14, when he was a choirboy. He accused Bishop Léonard, who was bishop of Namur-Luxemburg from 1991 to 2010, of not doing anything about his claims.
After a criminal procedure against Abbot Hubermont at the criminal court of Arlon, a statute of limitation was declared. Joël Devillet turned to the civil court in Arlon and won compensation for what he had endured from Abbot Hubermont. At the same time, a legal action was brought to the civil court in Namur, Joël Devillet accusing the Church of a cover-up. The court rejected Joël Devillet’s challenge in November 2013. His accusation against Bishop Léonard was judged to be without grounds.
At the court of appeal, attorney Marc Kauten requested that Andre Léonard be held responsible for the harm done. The court agreed in part by sentencing Archbishop Léonard to pay 10,000-euros compensation to Joël Devillet. Magistrates believe Andre Léonard did not pursue the matter as thoroughly as he should have, and underestimated the seriousness of the case.