The Vatican has expelled Ecuadorean priest Cesar Cordero Moscoso following an investigation into claims he abused six children more than 50 years ago.
The case entered the public sphere in April after accusations made by a former student named Jorge Palacios were presented in a letter to the mayor of Cuenca by the victim's sister, Maria Palacios.
The letter implored the mayor not to bequeath Cordero with one of the most prestigious prizes in the city, the Santa Ana de los Cuatro Rios award (St. Ann of the Four Rivers) for which he was nominated, because of his alleged crimes.
When the mayor called for an emergency meeting to discuss the accusation, more people came forward with similar allegations.
The accusations were originally made eight years ago, when Palacios approached the Town Rights Protectorate of Cuenca, which ordered the priest to stay away from schools and school children.
The order should have been sent to the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Education, and the National Police Unit on Children and Adolescents, but it was never forwarded and the case stalled.
The family had also presented their case to Monsignor Antonio Arregui, then president of the episcopal conference of Ecuador. According to the victim’s daughter, Tatiana Palacios, he said Father Cordero was too old to face criminal justice, and that divine justice would punish him if it saw fit.
The case is but one of many in which the Catholic church, embroiled in numerous scandals over the past two decades, allegedly covered up or otherwise mishandled reports of abuse.
Cordero, asked if he might know who the accuser was, said he has had over 40,000 students in his life and he couldn’t be expected to remember all of them. He then said people accusing priests of abuse were simply seeking financial settlements.
“I don’t know who is accusing me, nor do I care. I am absolutely innocent,” Cordero said.
The victim’s sister, commenting on the expulsion of the priest, said the Catholic church “took a long time to come to this decision, but there is justice for the pain (the priest) has caused the families.”