By NICOLE WINFIELD
ROME (AP) — The Vatican has decided to launch a preliminary sex abuse investigation into French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, after he admitted to having behaved in a “reprehensible way” with a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago. A Vatican spokesman said a search was under way to find a lead investigator with the “necessary autonomy, impartiality and experience.” Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the retired archbishop of Bordeaux and a former president of the French bishops’ conference, announced the abuse in a letter. That sparked more crisis within the French Catholic Church, which has been reeling over revelations of decades of abuse and cover-ups detailed in a report last year. The high-ranking Ricard has been involved in adjudicating other clergy sex abuse cases for years.