Pedophile former priest evades justice in Timor-Leste

UCA News

February 2, 2021

By Rock Ronald Rozario

Despite his crimes, American Richard Daschbach enjoys celebrity status in the tiny Catholic-majority nation

Richard Daschbach might be 84, defrocked from the priesthood and under house arrest in Timor-Leste capital Dili, but he continues to make a buzz in the tiny Catholic-majority Southeast Asian nation.

The self-proclaimed pedophile and former priest from the Society of the Divine Word congregation has hit the headlines again in Timor-Leste and beyond.

On Jan. 26, former president Xanana Gusmao visited the American to greet him on his birthday and pose for photos in what some believe was a political stunt by the former guerrilla leader turned politician.

The news of the visit was widely covered by news outlets including state-run news agency Tatoli.

Most reports covered the life and work of Daschbach in detail, including his contributions to the country’s independence struggle and support for marginalized people. However, little to nothing was mentioned about his crimes of sexual abuse of dozens of girls and pornography that led to his dismissal from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2018. Neither did they say that he is wanted in the United States for fraud.

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