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News > Chile

Chile: Trans Woman Testifies Against Priest For Sex Abuse, Joining 100s of Cases

  • Jose Andres Murillo, victim of clerical sexual abuse in Chile talking to the media during a news conference in Santiago, Chile, Sept. 28, 2018.

    Jose Andres Murillo, victim of clerical sexual abuse in Chile talking to the media during a news conference in Santiago, Chile, Sept. 28, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 January 2019

Another victim Juan Carlos Cruz says that the Catholic Church in Chile "is a real gang of delinquent bishops" and that the pontiff isn't doing enough to root out abusive priests.

Chilean transgender women Fran Noa Parra will testify Thursday morning in front of the Archdiocese of Santiago against a Franciscan priest, Saul Zamorano, for alleged sexual abuse.

Chilean President to Meet Pope Amid Catholic Church Abuse

In a case that began a year ago, Parra will testify in front of Chile’s Ecclesiastical Tribunal against a long-serving Catholic priest who has also been accused by another vicitm, Franco Parra for the same crimes when he was a 17 year old in 2013.

These newest testimonies add to the over 100 Chilean men who have testified for being sexually abused by trusted Catholic priests over the past several decades in the South American country.

Pope Francis publically dismissed the accusations last January that Father Juan Barros was complicit in covering up a major pedophile ring by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima during the 1970s and 1980s in Santiago. While Karadima was found guilty of pedophilia and expelled by the church in 2011, his main accusers, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton, and Jose Andres Murillo, had long told Chilean clerics that Barros enabled Karadima’s abuse. 

Francis finally sent top church investigators to Chile to look into these allegations, and produced a 2,300 page report on the scandal last April with 34 Chilean bishops were given the chance to resign. So far only seven have.

 Chile: Pope Meets Sex Abuse Victims, Fails to Announce Action

Chilean authorities have investigated 119 allegations of sexual abuse or cover-ups involving 167 church workers including Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago.

The pope defrocked Karadima in October; however, Wednesday his two principal victims, Cruz and Murillo said the pontiff hasn’t done enough to punish other priests who are guilty of sexual misconduct.

Cruz said that the leaders of the Catholic Church in Chile, including Ezzati and several others under criminal investigation for alleged cover-ups of abuse, have not fulfilled the promise to reform the institution.

"What we have in Chile is a real gang of delinquent bishops," he said. "After seeing the Pope, after everything that has happened to us (...) they do not learn anything," he added.

Representatives of the church said they would not comment on the issue.

Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, remains in office despite allegations of cover-up. Several of his close collaborators also remain in their positions.

Cruz and Murillo have called on the Chilean church to implement drastic reforms.

Murillo maintains that "more women and lay workers in the church" should become bishops in Chile. Cruz, meanwhile, said he believes in the Pope's efforts to uncover the cover-ups of the cases.

"I think that when the Pope asked me for forgiveness he was sincere and I think he is trying with all his heart (to answer) (...) but not as quickly as the seriousness of these matters deserves," he said.

"The Pope needs help and people who support him, but what has impacted me is the number of people rowing against him in his environment in the church. The Pope is very lonely."


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