A FORMER priest acquitted of the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in Mallorca has been removed from the priesthood.
Antoni Cano has stepped down as parish priest of Selva before the finalisation of an ecclesiastical criminal process opened against him for pedophilia.
It has been revealed Cano, aged 74, assumed the punishment that would have been imposed should he have been found guilty.
An official statement from the Bishopric of Mallorca, read: “Cano has requested the dispensation of public and private practice as a priest and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has granted it,” adding that the criminal administrative process against him is now finalised.
The Bishopric then appealed to the young girl and her family for “sincere forgiveness”.
Cano, who was aquitted by the Provincial Court of Malaga on the principle of ‘dubio pro reo’, which establishes that in the case of doubt, the benefit must prevail for the accused.
This came about in the first section of the hearing which declared “the exculpatory thesis maintained by the defendant and the defendant of the accusations were credible.”
During the process, the priest attributed the complaint to an economic mobile of the minor’s family. The prosecution, however, maintained that the parish priest abused the girl at her home in Es Calonge, Santanyi, in February 2015.
Cano is not the first clergyman in Mallorca to face child abuse charges.
In July 2016, the former priest of Can Picafort, Pere Barcelo was given a six years prison sentence after admitting repeatedly sexual abusing and raping a 10-year-old girl from his parish.