January 30, 2018
By Nicole Winfield
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is sending the Vatican’s most respected sex crimes expert to Chile to investigate a bishop accused by victims of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.
The Vatican said Tuesday that Maltese Bishop Charles Scicluna would travel to Chile “to listen to those who have expressed the desire to provide elements” about the case of Bishop Juan Barros.
The Barros controversy dominated Francis’ just-ended trip to Chile and exposed Francis’ blind spot as far as clerical sex abuse is concerned. Even one of his closest advisers, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, publicly rebuked him for his treatment of victims and tried to set him straight.
Barros was a protege of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic and politically powerful priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors in 2011. His victims testified to Chilean prosecutors that Barros and other priests in the El Bosque community saw Karadima kissing youngsters and were aware of his perversions, but did nothing.
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