Irish Missionary Faces Allegations of Child Abuse in Chile
July 26, 2012
|School children in Chile (file photo).|
An Irish Catholic missionary priest working as a school chaplain in the Chilean capital of Santiago is being investigated for alleged sexual abuse of a child.
Chilean authorities on Wednesday said that the missionary priest, John O'Reilly, is under investigation. O'Reilly, who works as a chaplain and spiritual advisor at the Colegio Cumbres School in the classy Las Condes district was suspended after a student's family reported abuse.
"The information provided verbally by the mother of our student refers to Father John O'Reilly LC, who told the college that he is totally innocent and willing to cooperate in the investigation. The priest and Colegio Cumbres agreed to the suspension of all Father O'Reilly internal activities in order to fully clarify the facts," the Colegio Cumbres school's statement said.
In his defense O'Reilly published a statement, in which he claimed that it was all a “regrettable mistake” and that his behavior was ‘above board’.
The investigation is, however, not limited to this case alone. According to officials Chilean prosecutors are also looking into child abuse reports in at least 60 schools across the country.
In recent years, a series of first-time state inquiries in the predominantly Roman Catholic country of Ireland have exposed shocking evidence of child abuse by pedophile priests and Church leaders’ attempts to conceal them. Similar cases have also been reported throughout Europe and the United States.