Church Suspended Priest Accused of Sex Abuse
The accused is vicar at Nuestra Seņora de la Carrodilla Church; the alleged victim is a 9-year-old girl.
By Leandro Sturniolo
September 24, 2010
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
The parish priest at Nuestra Señora de la Carrodilla Church was denounced yesterday for sexual abuse of a 9-year-old girl. The legal filing alleges “furtive touching with clothing.”
The case is presently classified as a “sexual abuse inquiry.” Today, accused priest Luis Sabarre will be called to testify. He’ll also be investigated by authorities of the Archdiocese of Mendoza, who will deliver a report to the Vatican.
The episode in question occurred last Saturday, when the priest was teaching catechism at Renato Della Santa School, located in the Huarpes II neighborhood, in Godoy Cruz. Sabarre, 68, belongs to the religious congregation, The Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and collaborates on projects at Nuestra Señora de la Carrodilla parish.
“What the families have denounced is furtive touching (with clothing) of a 9-year-old girl. The issue is that the alleged incident didn’t leave any marks or injuries, and therefore, arriving at a resolution won’t be simple. Nevertheless, the case received the sexual abuse inquiry classification, and, if the alleged offense is confirmed, the crime could rise in severity due to the age of the victim, who is a minor, and due to the role of the accused as authority figure of the church,” said Prosecutor’s Office No. 6.
Now that the criminal complaint has been filed, the next steps to be taken by the justice system include: calling the priest to testify, making the formal accusation, and then commencing a psychological evaluation of both the defendant and the complainant.
“The measures [to be taken] aren’t urgent. These are offenses that either can or can’t be proved. While it’ll be difficult to corroborate, we’ll do all we can to elucidate what happened,” said the prosecutor’s office.
The Archdiocese of Mendoza, meanwhile, resolved to remove the priest from his duties, which is to say that he won’t be able to officiate Mass, nor will he be able to have contact with the parishioners. Furthermore, the ecclesiastical authorities will open an investigation of the matter and take a final report to the Vatican, in accordance with the normative procedures that were made public last April by Church officials.
It was confirmed that a priest of the same parish accompanied the family members of the alleged victim to file the complaint with Prosecutor’s Office No. 6, whose head of operations is Lauro Monticone.
Father Marcelo De Benedectis, spokesman for the Archdiocese, confirmed the Church’s commitment of collaboration in order that the criminal investigation is quickly resolved.
“We have pledged our involvement in the matter in order to try to resolve, quickly and efficiently, this matter that affects society. A priest accompanied the family to file the complaint and, from the Archdiocese, we will provide our support to the people involved, especially those most harmed,” said De Benedectis.
At the close of this edition, a source said the grandmother of the victim claimed that there was a similar incident a few years ago involving the victim’s sister. But the prosecutor’s office didn’t give legal soundness to the presumed connection.
In our province, the Oblates work in a middle-class parish. But these environments often hide situations of severe poverty, which is where Father Luis Sabarre, together with a group of laypersons, had initiated two projects by which he sought to collaborate with the community. One was an artisan initiative, and the other, shoes [for poor people].