Chile prosecutors raid Chatholic Church offices amid sex abuse probe

Santiago: Prosecutor have seized documents in raids on Roman Catholic Church offices in two Chilean cities as part of an investigation into growing clergy sex abuse scandals.

The surprise police raids on Wednesday targeted the headquarters of Santiago’s Ecclesiastical Court and the diocese in Rancagua in the O’Higgins region, where 14 priests are accused of having had sexual relations with minors.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, left, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeuof, right, take part in a press conference at the Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago, Chile.

The raids took place as two investigators sent by Pope Francis met with Chilean prosecutors, including Attorney-General Jorge Abbott, to coordinate their response to scandals that have discredited the Chilean church and last month led all of its 30-plus active bishops to offer to resign over their collective guilt in failing to protect children from abusive priests.

“The commitment is to a greater collaboration between the institutions,” Abbott said, adding that church and civilian authorities were going to set up a system to provide victims with the protections needed to come forward and freely lodge complaints.

Abbott said prosecutors met some resistance in the Rancagua raid, though they were satisfied with the information seized in both operations. He said in the coming days prosecutors would ask the Vatican for any information it has related to the investigations.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a special envoy from the Vatican, told reporters that it was “very important” that Church and state work together to protect children alleged to have been abused by priests and clergymen.

“The canonical process should in no way impede the right of people to exercise their right to civil justice,” he said at a news conference in the capital Santiago.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, holding paper, Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, right, and Papal Nuncio Ivo Scapolo, left, give a press conference in Santiago, Chile.

Santiago Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello said church officials “gave the prosecutor all the requested documentation.” They were “available to cooperate with the civilian justice system in all that is required.”

Prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who led the search in Santiago, said the church raids showed that in Chile “we are all subject to common justice.”

Jaime Ortiz de Lazcano, the Archbishop of Santiago’s legal advisor, said he was in a meeting with Scicluna when he was asked to go to a court hearing about the impending seizure of documents relating to an abuse case the Church had investigated in January.

Chilean Attorney-General Jorge Abbott, centre, leaves the Apostolic Nunciature after meeting with Archbishop Charles Scicluna in Santiago on Wednesday.

“I was very surprised when they told me ‘Father, go to the court because there’s going to be a raid,'” he told reporters.

“It’s not common that [prosecutors]) solicit information from a canonical investigation, but we are entirely willing to cooperate.”

Prosecutor Emiliano Arias told reporters outside the Santiago raid that he was investigating “individuals working for the Catholic Church, not the Catholic Church itself.”

“In Chile, everyone is subject to ordinary justice,” Arias said.

Scicluna and the other Vatican investigator, Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, earlier put together a 2300-page report that prompted Francis to realise he had misjudged the Chilean situation.

On Monday, Francis began purging Chile’s Catholic hierarchy over the avalanche of sex abuse and cover-up cases, starting with accepting the resignations of the bishop at the centre of the scandal and two others.

A Vatican statement said Francis had accepted the resignations of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt. He named a temporary leader for each diocese.

Barros has been at the centre of Chile’s growing scandal ever since Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno in 2015 over the objections of the local faithful, the pope’s own sex abuse prevention advisers and some of Chile’s other bishops.

The critics questioned Barros’ suitability to lead since he had been a top lieutenant of Chile’s most notorious predator priest and had been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse by that priest, the Reverend Fernando Karadima. Barros denied the charge, but he twice offered to resign in the ensuing years.

In 2011, the Vatican sentenced Karadima, a powerful preacher close to Chile’s elite, to a lifetime of penance and prayer for his sex crimes.

But the Scicluna-Bertomeu report exposed a far bigger scandal that has implicated several religious orders. It also exposed evidence that the Chilean hierarchy systematically covered up and minimised abuse cases.

The findings opened a Pandora’s Box of new accusations that led Francis to become the first pope to refer to a “culture of abuse and cover-up” in the Catholic Church.

The raids in Chile were reminiscent of the police search carried out in 2010 at the headquarters of the Catholic Church hierarchy in Belgium, which prompted Pope Benedict XVI to protest, calling it a “deplorable” intrusion in the Catholic Church’s legal process.

Belgian police took away computers and hundreds of files amid rumors that church leaders were continuing to cover up abuse cases. The raid prompted a Catholic panel investigating abuse to shut down in protest, saying Belgian authorities had betrayed the trust of nearly 500 victims who made complaints to the panel.

With many thanks to: The Sydney Morning Herald for the origional story.

Its fucking disgusting if the INLA have been charged with running a brothel and hore houses !

  1. The man and woman are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday
    Two people have been charged with brothel keeping following a police operation targeting republican paramilitary group the INLA.

Seven arrests followed 12 searches in Belfast, Lisburn, Crumlin and Newtownabbey, County Antrim, on Friday.

A 32-year-old man has been charged with brothel keeping and concealing criminal property.

A 22-year-old woman has been charged with controlling prostitution and brothel keeping.

Both people are expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

A 48-year-old man arrested in connection with alleged trafficking and controlling prostitution offences has BB released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Detectives arrested a 55-year-old man in the greater Belfast area on Saturday under terrorism legislation, as part of the same police operation.

Three other men detained on Friday under terrorism legislation remain in custody.

More than 200 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers took part in the Paramilitary Crime Task Force operation on Friday, supported by the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

with many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.

TEEN HAS INSPIRING MESSAGE OF HOPE

“I’M writing this so that others in a similar postion might be helped by reading it… I was emotionally and sexually abused since a very early age.

” My trust in people was shattered and I was brainwashed into thinking I’m ugly, worthless and a good-for-nothhing.” That’s what abuse can do to an innocent person and this letter from a teenager struggling to cope explains those feelings with great clarity.

“I built a shell around myself to protect myself. I live in a house filled with bitterness because my parents can’t stand each other and I’m afraid to get involved. Sometimes I wonder am I the problem, but that’s negative thinking. “I want other people to know that I have discovered there can be a safe refuge. Mine is poetry – and friends, of course.

I have been constantly beaten down by other people and brainwashed into thinking I’m ugly and that I’m some sort of freak. “My scars will never heal. But I now understand I am not the one who’s ugly. They are ugly inside because they are so destructive. They are to be pitied more than anything else. “I am learning to chip away at my shell and that is leading to a new confidence.

WONDERFUL

“I am no stunner. I am a 5’7”, blue-eyed, size 12 blonde. But because I’ve been told I’m ugly since I was three, I’ll never be sure of my looks. I now know that it is my personality that counts. “It is only through expert counselling that I have started to explore my dark and scarred side. It is only now that I’ve begun to put my trust back into people and I believe that whether they like me or not is their problem not mine.

“I have a few close and wonderful friends – without them I would be lost. They’re helping me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My friends are all I have. “Yet I was so emotionally shattered that I couldn’t even trust them. I thought they put up with me because they felt sorry for me and pitied me. Now I know they like me because of the person I am.

“The person who sexually abused me, over and over, since I was 13, lives across the road from me. I’m afraid of him because he’s evil, but I am determined not to let him beat me. I won’t keep running all my life. Why should I? I am the one who was abused. I have nothing to apologise for. “This man has wounded me and rubbed salt in the wounds, but if I give up he’ll never have to face up to what he has done. That’s why I’m going to counselling. “I don’t know why I have been emotionally and sexually abused. I don’t know why my family is in tatters because my parents hate each other and my brother has a drink problem.

“But I do know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s far away, but I can see it. It gets a tiny bit brighter every day and I hope I reach it. “I’m lucky because I can express these feelings in poetry, which is a great release. Some people aren’t so lucky, so I want to tell those people not to suffer alone. They should tell someone about it. “I am healing very, very slowly, but I am healing. I have suffered so much. I’d be grateful if you could print this. Thanks.” (Hopeful Teenager)

This letter was sent to: Fr Brian D’Arcy and printed in the: Sunday World.