23.9 C

What is known about the pedophilia scandal of a Catholic priest in Bolivia?



The Bolivian public prosecutor’s office is investigating at least eight pedophilia accusations against a Catholic priest in a scandal that has rocked the country after learning of the sexual abuse of the deceased Spanish monk Alfonso Pedrajas. The number of incidents is likely to rise further.

How do complaints arise?

The Spanish newspaper El Pais published on April 30 the personal diary of Jesuit priest Alfonso Pedrajas, better known as Father Pica, who died of cancer in Bolivia in 2009 at the age of 66.

A relative gave the newspaper a diary he had written on his laptop, in which he said he had “hurt many people (85?), too many.” In addition, he admitted to being protected by a senior Jesuit priest.

Pedrajas settled in Bolivia in 1971 and worked in various centers until a few months before his death. The Juan XXIII School in the city of Cochabamba, in the center of the country, is said to be the place where most of his abuse took place.

Juan XXIII prided himself on his high level of education and training in a boarding school for minors with limited financial resources and students from rural areas.

Hilarion Valdivieso, a member of the education center’s alumni association, admitted to the abuses at a press conference and said he blamed a “cover-up” by the Jesuits, who knew of Pedrajas’ activities.

How many court complaints are there?

After the scandal sparked by media revelations, the Bolivian Public Prosecutor’s Office received at least eight indictments for alleged religious abuse.

Attorney General Juan Ranchipa said the complaints were filed in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, Tarija (south) and Santa Cruz (east).

Among those accused are, in addition to Pedrajas, Spanish priests Luis Maria Roma, Alejandro Mestre and Antonio Gausetto (Father Tuco), all dead. . Other defendants are still alive.

Some of the complaints were submitted by the Yes company itself.

Ranchipa expressed concern about “the failure of this Catholic organization to report and protect these extraordinary events rather than condemning them”.

Are cases of abuse increasing?

Former Jesuit priest Pedro Lima told AFP last Friday that sexual abuse had been carried out not only on minors but also on Jesuits in training.

Lima said she was expelled from the Society of Jesus in 2001 for denouncing abuses within the cult and recently returned to Bolivia from Paraguay to join the Pedrajas denunciation.

According to the former clergyman, “Some of the victims are former Jesuits who were trained by this person. In short, he abused not only the students, but also the Jesuits in training.” .

Susana Inchi, legal adviser to the Bolivian Episcopal Council, has acknowledged 12 complaints against priests since 2019, when an internal commission was convened to investigate the cases.

A survey by the Bolivian newspaper Pagina Siete put the number of victims at more than 170.

Last week, Reverend Milton Murillo was arrested on rape charges, and Reverend Garvin Gretsch fled to Argentina on similar charges.

In the wake of the incident, leftist President Luis Arce sent a letter to Pope Francis on Monday night asking for access to all material on pedophilia in Bolivia.

He added that the country reserves the right to accept complaints from clerics and that the government will seek to reach a new relationship agreement with the Vatican.

What is the church’s position?

Days after the revelation of Pedrajas’ diary, the Bolivian Anglican Church expressed its regret.

“As a church, we condemn these acts and stand in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse and seek their forgiveness,” he said in a statement.

The Jesuits also stated that they would use all the cases that came to their knowledge for the trial.

The Church of Bolivia has confirmed the visit of a special envoy from the Vatican, Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, to address the country’s sexual abuse problem.

Source: Diario.Elmundo

Subscribe to our magazine


━ more like this


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here