Diocese of Sion appoints external sexual abuse audit

Diocese of Sion appoints external sexual abuse audit

Thu, Nov 2nd 2023

In connection with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Sion has commissioned an independent external audit. This was announced on Wednesday.

(KEYSTONE/Olivier Maire)

It is a matter of determining who within the diocese of Sion bears the institutional and personal responsibility for the abuses, it said. This is about the handling of the abuse cases and the treatment of the victims.

The mandate was given to Vicario Consulting, an auditing company based in western Switzerland. It will have access to all archives and documents of the diocese and will be able to interview witnesses and responsible persons. The interim results of the report are expected in early 2024.

At the same time, the vicar general Richard Lehner, responsible for the processing of the reported cases from 2015 to 2021, withdrew with immediate effect from all offices in this connection, it was further stated.

19 cases in Valais

According to a study released by the University of Zurich in mid-September, there have been at least 1002 cases of sexual abuse in Switzerland since the mid-20th century. According to the researchers, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as most cases were not reported and the documents were destroyed.

The report does not include a breakdown of victims by diocese. The bishop of Sion spoke of a total of 19 cases of sexual abuse in the canton within the Catholic Church since 2015, and the prosecutor’s office in Valais has opened a preliminary investigation in the matter.


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