Scandal in the Bronx: Dominican priest accused of abusing a minor after asking to legalize Haitian immigrants on the island

Explica [Paris, France]

May 7, 2021

Dominican Father Ricardo Fajardo stepped away from his duties as pastor of the parish “Holy Spirit” (Holy Spirit) in the Bronx (NYC) while investigating a lawsuit alleging that he abused a minor several decades ago, amid protests Recent reports against him for showing “pro-Haitian” sentiments.

The complaint was filed under the Child Victims Act alleging the sexual abuse of a minor by Father Fajardo. The alleged conduct would have occurred in the 1990s and the accusation has been shared with district attorneys in Manhattan and the Bronx.

In an April 28 letter to parishioners, Auxiliary Bishop Edmund J. Whalen, vicar for the clergy, said: “While you will no doubt find this news disturbing, as it did me, I know you would rather hear it directly from me than media ”, quoted the Catholic New York portal.

Bishop Whalen said that Father Fajardo has denied the accusation, “and of course, you are considered innocent until your responsibility is proven, but he has agreed to step aside while the matter is investigated and will not publicly exercise his ministry while the accusation is reviewed. “

Bishop Whalen requested that the faithful of the Holy Spirit Pray “both for the person who presented this accusation and for Father Fajardo.” Priest Eric Cruz, regional director of Catholic Charities of the Bronx, will serve as temporary administrator for the parish.

Father Fajardo has also been criticized for expressing “Pro-Haitian sentiments” personally and in the Eucharist, amid frequent tensions between neighboring Haiti and the Dominican Republic. For this reason, some of his defenders say that Reporting of sexual abuse could be political retaliation, Univision said.

“Dozens of Dominicans who claim to belong to the entity” Unión Cívica “protested last weekend against Father Ricardo Fajardo, in front of his Church” Espíritu Santo “(…) for being a pro Haitian, customary defender and at the same time a traitor to the Dominican Republic. A few weeks ago, the parish priest advocated for the legalization of Haitians in the Dominican Republic with a new immigration law, where he assured that ‘it is time to seek solutions to the Dominican-Haitian problem, promoting a reform of respect, tolerance and legality, which will allow a legal transit and a healthy coexistence to a fluid, organized and beneficial market for both countries ”, reported El Nacional.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled that Only people born in Dominican territory to native parents or legal residents are considered nationals. on the island, leaving thousands of Haitian immigrants in limbo, an action denounced by the Organization of American States and which represents quite the opposite of the reality in most of the countries of the continent.