Former Chilean Church Official Arrested in Church Abuse Scandal
By Mei Manuel, July 17, 2018 02:07 AM
On Thursday, the Chilean police have arrested a former Roman Catholic Church official who has confessed earlier this year that he sexually abused at least five children while in office.
Former chancellor of the archdiocese of Santiago Oscar Munoz confessed in January to church authorities regarding his act according to state prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who ordered for his arrest. Munos' arrest is the first arrest authorities enforced since the government launched a major investigation this year regarding the Chilean Catholic Church's church sexual abuse scandal, which the Vatican officials have accused the country's church officials of "grave negligence" and cover-up of sexual abuse allegations in February.
Arias had also noted that Munoz had actually been responsible for receiving reports of alleged church sexual abuse cases in the country. He also said, "The crimes he is accused of are of repeated sexual abuse and one case of a consenting relationship with an older minor. There are more than five victims. I hope this investigation will allow me to find more victims because they deserve proper treatment."
Contrary to the other alleged abuse cases in the Chilean Catholic Church which have permitted criminals to escape prosecution because of the country's statute of limitations regarding sexual cases, Arias said it will not be the same with Munoz's case.
The prosecutor conducted raids on several church offices and took documents in Santiago and Rancagua last month as part of the investigations. The police confirmed this statement, stressing that the evidences were taken from the Archbishop of Santiago's offices and the Church's ecclesiastical tribunal.
The Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, had expressed his willingness to assist the investigations and said that Munoz's arrest brings him "great pain, for him, for his family and for the victims."
Munoz is expected to appear in court in Rancagua on Friday. It is uncertain if he had hired a lawyer to represent him.
Munoz's alleged confession came around the same time Pope Francis visited Chile in January, where several church sexual abuse allegations were brought out of the open. After an investigation by the Vatican's top church sexual abuse investigator, the Pope summoned all 34 Chilean bishops to Rome in May where all had offered their resignations over the scandals.
Currently, five bishops were permitted to resign and sources said that it is likely he will be considering the other voluntary resignations in the coming weeks.
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