9 Sep 2002

A judge in French Polynesia says a Catholic priest tried to cover up child abuse

12:36 pm on 9 September 2002

A court in French Polynesia has told a Catholic priest that he should not have maintained the sanctity of the confessional, but should have reported a man for repeatedly raping his daughter.

According to a report by the French news agency, AFP, the court's president says the priest knew that the accused had raped his 15 year old daughter more than 600 times over a period of four years.

The child's father has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.

The abuse only came to the attention of the authorities when the girl spoke out at a Catholic church group for troubled youth.

The group's leader immediately reported the incest, although the priest advised against it.

Meanwhile a court in Papeete has begun hearing the case against a 26 year old man accused of raping his former partner's eight year old daughter.

In this case, a clergyman from the Protestant church had urged the family to keep quiet about the abuse.