x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Chilean abuse victims file complaint against ex-archbishop

Only in 2009, some five years after Cardinal Javier Errazuriz received the first complaint abuse did he start the process.

Chile's Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa is the subject of a criminal complaint filed by Chilean victims of sexual abuse. AP
Chile's Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa is the subject of a criminal complaint filed by Chilean victims of sexual abuse. AP

Victims of sexual abuse by Chile's most infamous paedophile priest filed a criminal complaint on Thursday against a former bishop who is an adviser to Pope Francis

The complaint, obtained by The Associated Press, was filed against Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, the retired archbishop of the Chilean capital.

Victims of Reverend Fernando Karadima accuse Errazuriz of perjury, saying he's part of Chile's wretched record on clerical abuse and cover-up. The complaint is led by the lawyer representing victims Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo.

The scandal battering the Chilean church has prompted 31 bishops to offer their resignation to the pope, who has accepted the resignations of eight bishops so far.

Pope Francis also recently defrocked Karadima.

Victims have accused Errazuriz of covering up their accusations in order to protect Karadima. The victims repeated their accusations earlier this year at the end of a four-day visit with Pope Francis, who has done an about-face on the Chilean scandal after initially discrediting the victims.

Errazuriz has denied covering up for Karadima. He has denounced the "defamation" he has been subject to and defended his handling of the case at the centre of the sex abuse scandal that has discredited the Chilean church and tarnished Francis' own reputation.

_________

Read more:

Accuser denounces pope's silence over abuse cover-up claims

Pope meets with US church leaders over clergy sex abuse

Vatican fights back against accusations of sex abuse cover-up

Pope says he will not respond to allegations of abuse cover-up

_________

In a letter by Errazuriz obtained by the AP earlier this year, the emeritus archbishop insisted that he was only following church law in waiting so long to launch an investigation into Karadima. Only in 2009, some five years after he received the first complaint, did he start the process.

In addition to the delay in starting an investigation, the survivors point to a letter Errazuriz wrote in 2006, well after receiving the first allegations, in which the archbishop reassured Karadima he wasn't being "punished" by agreeing to leave his parish.

Karadima was later convicted and sentenced by the Vatican to a lifetime of penance and prayer for his sex crimes.