Chile demands the Vatican hand over documents related to sex abuse claims against nine clergy members as prosecutors search for evidence of cover ups

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
By Paul Martin

Chilean prosecutors said they are investigating 38 cases of alleged sex crimes
The government told the Vatican it wanted documents relating to accusations
The demand coincides with yet another raid, on Episcopal Conference offices

15 August 2018

Chilean officials frustrated with the slow pace of investigations into the country’s sex abuse scandal have demanded the Vatican hand over vital documents.

Yesterday, as local prosecutors raided yet another office of the Roman Catholic Church in Santiago, the Chilean government told the Vatican it needed documents related to sex abuse accusations against nine clergy members.

The demand coincided with Tuesday’s release of a grand jury report which revealed that hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania have molested more than 1,000 children and senior church officials, including the now archbishop of Washington, D.C., systematically covered up the abuse.

The 800-page Pennsylvania report refers to more than 300 priests in six diocese where children were raped, plied with alcohol, or forced to perform for clergymen to produce pornographic material since the mid-1950s.

In Chile, several offices of senior church figures have recently been raided as prosecutors search for evidence of accusations of sexual abuse by clergy not reported to the civilian police, and evidence of cover-ups.

Tuesday’s raid by investigating prosecutors and Chile’s equivalent of the FBI took place at one of the most important buildings of the Chilean church in the capital of Santiago.

They searched the offices of the Episcopal Conference, the Church leadership in Chile, looking for evidence of accusations made about members of the Marist Brothers religious community.

Prosecutor Raul Guzman told reporters yesterday that police had collected documents and computers from the Episcopal Conference and had begun to sift through everything.

He told the local media that investigators were collecting information to help identify victims.

After leaving the Episcopal Office headquarters, the investigators went to the offices of the Marist order and also collected information there, according to Alejandro Pena, an attorney for the order.

The investigation is focused on more 38 accusations of abuse committed against former students at schools run by the Marists, who are religious brothers, not priests.

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