Father Armendáriz Still Won’t Come to Mendoza
The legal defense of the priest, accused of fathering a baby, said he’ll only go if the Family Court orders him to appear.
By Miguel Títuro
Diario Los Andes
April 18, 2001
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
Yesterday marked some developments in the judicial proceedings initiated by Paola Vanina Quiroga, the young woman who claims that the priest, Francisco José Armendáriz, fathered her 8-month-old daughter. The priest is currently in Benito Juárez, a province of Buenos Aires.
The priest’s lawyer, Gustavo Estrella, who is also the legal representative of the Archbishop of Mendoza, was practically silent on the matter. He merely expressed that his client will not, for the time being, travel to Mendoza because the presiding judge hasn’t yet requested his presence, either to appear in court or to undergo DNA testing.
Yesterday, this newspaper made another attempt to have a dialogue with the priest, although to no avail. In one instance, in which the priest himself answered the phone at the Nuestra Señora del Carmen parish, he limited himself to saying he didn’t wish to comment on the matter, and that he expected to clarify matters in order to provide testimony to the paper.
Unlike Armendáriz, Dr. Dante Felipe de Oro, who is providing legal counsel to the young Paola Vanina, was not silent in response to our questions. The lawyer made reference to Armendáriz’s assertion, published last Saturday in Los Andes, in which the priest, in conversation with the radio station, Del Sol, in Benito Juárez, maintained that in his case “there is a black hand behind the publication of the details of the case during Holy Week.”
De Oro, son of criminal law expert, Enrique Eduardo de Oro, said in response to this assertion that “the media’s coverage of the case took us by surprise, since our intention was that the matter remained strictly inside the court. But, following the first publications in media outlets, we could not continue ignoring the demands of the press, which led to an objective and modified version of the facts.”
De Oro added: “We did not intend to involve the Catholic Church, which is unconnected to the matter.”
Finally, De Oro said that in recent hours the First Family Court has requested, in official notice to the Family Chamber, the release of documentation created last year, at the initiative of Armendáriz, to determine whether that tribunal is fit to hear the case.