SANTIAGO: As many as 80 Roman Catholic priests have been accused of child sex abuse in Chile since 2000, revealed a US-based monitoring group on Wednesday.
The report has surfaced as Pope Francis’ visit to Chile is expected next week.
Francis has openly spoken out against such abuse and called to improve accountability and transparency.
BishopAccountability.org compiled its database of clergy publicly accused of sex abuse against minors using court and media records.
The group said the list represented a “fraction of the total number of accused clerics who would be known if Chile’s church leaders were required to report to law enforcement, if its legal system allowed victims more time to bring criminal and civil charges, or if dioceses and religious orders were investigated by prosecutors or state commissions.”
The list also includes Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, convicted by the Vatican of abusing children, but not Chile.
Foreign-born clergy members Irishman Jeremiah Healy, American Jesuit H. Cornell Bradley, and Filipino Reverend Richard Joey Aguinaldo are also listed.
Pope’s parade route would be heavily guarded during his visit next week to Chile amid security concerns. The pontiff will then visit the neighbouring country, Peru.