KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter
January 10, 2018
By Joshua J. McElwee
The leading Catholic clergy sexual abuse tracking website has identified nearly 80 priests in Chile that have been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors, releasing their names online just days before Pope Francis is to visit the country.
BishopAccountability.org calls the list only a sampling of the number of Chilean priests who have likely committed abuse, saying that unlike in the U.S., the church in Chile has yet to face substantial outside investigation into its handling of sexual misconduct.
“This list — is a fraction of the total number of accused clerics who would be known if Chile’s church leaders were required to report to law enforcement, if its legal system allowed victims more time to bring criminal and civil charges, or if dioceses and religious orders were investigated by prosecutors or state commissions,” the group notes in a statement accompanying the database.
Francis is to visit Chile Jan. 15-18 as part of a two-country tour that includes a visit to neighboring Peru Jan. 18-22.
Local observers say attention during the Chilean visit may center on how the pope can help the country’s church regain trustworthiness after a recent spate of cases of clergy sexual abuse.
But the pope himself has also been criticized for his record on the abuse issue, especially his 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid of Osorno, Chile. Barros has been accused of protecting notorious abuser Fr. Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and ’90s.
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