Hiding in Plain Sight
The Rev. Rev. Edgar Hidalgo
Rome Case Study #2
Dallas Morning News
September 12, 2004
[See also the main article in this feature, In
the Shadow of the Vatican: Accused Clerics Serving in Rome, Heart of the
Catholic Church, by Reese Dunklin, and the other case studies on Revs.
Baptist Ormechea, and Joseph
Henn. The main article and case studies were also released as a series
of four PDFs 1
4. See earlier
articles in the Runaway Priests series.]
Father Hidalgo worked in a Mexico City parish for about three years while
wanted on Italian sex-abuse charges. He was arrested in 2002, extradited
to Italy and convicted. An Italian court let him serve house arrest with
his religious society, the Cruzados de Cristo Rey, in an office across
from the Vatican.
Because of "various evasions," his house arrest was revoked
a few months ago, and he is now in a Rome prison, authorities said.
Father Hidalgo left Mexico City in the mid-1990s and went to work near
Naples, Italy. He returned to his native Mexico a few years later, after
parents complained to officials in the Pozzuoli Diocese that he was abusing
children. Italian authorities concluded that he had abused an 11-year-old
girl and several other children, sometimes during orgies. Meanwhile, Mexico
City Cardinal Norberto Rivera put the fugitive priest to work in a parish.
The Priest Says
He could not be reached in prison for comment. Italian authorities said
he has confessed to some abuse and agreed to undergo treatment.
The Church Says
Cardinal Rivera's press office said in a 2002 statement that until the
priest's arrest, the cardinal did not know he was a fugitive. The cardinal
declined to be interviewed. Pozzuoli Bishop Silvio Padoin did not respond
to written questions.