BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
The Associated Press
September 18, 2018
Pope Francis’ role in Argentina’s most famous case of priestly sex abuse is coming under renewed scrutiny as he faces the greatest crisis of his papacy over the Catholic Church’s troubled legacy of cover-up and allegations that he himself sided with the accused.
Francis, who at the time was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in 2010 commissioned a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.
The Argentine church says that the study obtained by The Associated Press – bound volumes complete with reproductions of Johannes Vermeer paintings on the covers – was for internal church use only. But the volumes purportedly ended up on the desks of some Argentine court justices who were ruling on the appeals of Father Julio Grassi.
Despite the study, Argentina’s Supreme Court in March 2017 upheld the conviction and 15-year prison sentence against Grassi, a celebrity priest who ran homes for street children across Argentina.
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