Shameful and painful: Latin American pedophilia cases that embarrass the Catholic Church

Cases of sexual abuse of minors in Mexico, Peru and Chile are added to the pedophilia scandals revealed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Shameful and painful: Latin American pedophilia cases that embarrass the Catholic Church

On Tuesday, August 14, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania released a report documenting many cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and that the church had hidden for more than 70 years. This is a reality that the Vatican has come to recognize through a communiqué, describing it as shameful and painful. In addition, it asked the U.S. justice system that those who participated be judged for their criminal acts.

Leer en español: Vergonzoso y doloroso: Casos de pederastia en América Latina que avergüenzan a la Iglesia Católica

For his part, Pope Francis published on Monday, August 20, a letter in which he said: "With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives." According to him, the pain of the victims and of the families is also their pain, "that is why it is urgent to reaffirm once again our commitment to guarantee the protection of minors and adults in vulnerable situations".

Latin America is a region that has not been alien to cases of pedophilia. Therefore, here we present some of the most notorious cases in the region.

Sexual abuse by former chancellor of the archbishopric Carlos Muñoz

In mid-July 2018, the former chancellor of the archbishopric of Santiago de Chile was captured for having sexually abused five minors. Currently, the Chilean priest is in pretrial detention for 180 days, which could turn into 15 years in prison while investigations continue. This is explained by the prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who is aware of the case, according to El País.

According to the prosecutor, Muñoz "knew what to do, what not to do, how to handle himself. How to be able, in short, to ensure his impunity." All that happened since 2011, while he was chancellor of the archdiocese. For the prosecutor Arias, the abused children are relatives of the priest. In addition, the victims were sexually inexperience, "they were in the middle of the formation stage and were attacked while they were under the care of the priest, given the trust that the parents had for him," said the same media.

Marcial Maciel, the pedophile priest of Mexico

Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ and friend of Pope John Paul II, had more than 20 accusations of sexual abuse by the seminarians of his congregation, according to a report of the UN Committee Against Torture. After Maciel's death in 2008, the recognition of the victims remained in the limbo until April 2018, when eight men who suffered the abuses of Maciel decided to send a letter to the Legionaries.

According to The Associated Press, in the letter they asked to have the status of victims and be entitled to compensation for the psychological damage and abuse suffered. Since 1997, when the different sexual abuses of Maciel were made known, the Legionaries of Christ ignored the facts and pointed out the accusers to attack the Church.

In 2014, the Holy See finally determined that the victims were right and the order of the Legionaries issued an apology, explained the BBC. Of the 20 victims, 12 were compensated by a compensation commission of the Vatican that was maintained from 2011 to 2014. Although Maciel was condemned by the Vatican in 2006, he did not receive any custodial sentence in a prison, but had to do penance and prayer for the rest of his life, according to the report of the UN Committee Against Torture.

You can also read: Abused nuns, a disturbing reality in Chile  

The priest accused of sexually abuse students in a Peruvian school

Carlos Enrique Peralta Luna is a Peruvian priest who was sent as administrator to a school in Peru. However, Peralta was reported by a colleague of his before the reverend Juan Vera, responsible for the Salesians in Peru, after being found at midnight with a child in his bedroom.

A similar situation occurred in 1995, when several students reported him to the Salesian order for sexual abuse. On that occasion, a religious disciplinary committee ordered Peralta to stay away from the children. In 1997, Peralta was detained in the "treatment center for clerics "Marie's House" in Tortuguitas, province of Buenos Aires (Argentina)," according to the newspaper Contra Poder in Chiapas.

In March of 1998 he was transferred to "the new St. John Bosco Church in Chicago" for an archdiocesan work permit that he obtained thanks to the signature of reverend Juan Vera, explained the same media. However, he was later charged with sexually abuse four children, so he was sent to a treatment center in Virginia.

The foregoing is part of the disclosures contained in file 02-2692-ci-19, defendant on April 3, 2002 in the "Sixth District Court in Pinellas County (Florida) against the Vatican", the Diocese of St. Petersburg (Florida) and the Salesian order, according to the Chiapas newspaper.

LatinAmerican Post | Edwin Gustavo Guerrero Nova

Translated from " Vergonzoso y doloroso: Casos de pederastia que avergüenzan a la Iglesia Católica en América Latina"