Chilean Officials Raid Four Dioceses in Sex-Abuse Investigation

Investigators seized documents from Concepción, Valparaíso, Chillán and Osorno last week.

(photo: Pixabay)

SANTIAGO, Chile — As part of the investigation into sexual crimes against minors committed by members of the Catholic Church in Chile, the offices of the Archdiocese of Concepción and the Dioceses of Valparaíso, Chillán, and Osorno were all raided Thursday.

The Sept. 13 raids were carried out by prosecutors and police and ordered by prosecutor Emiliano Arias.

Among some of the cases being investigated, in the Archdiocese of Concepción, Father Reinaldo Méndez is accused of rape; and in Valparaíso, Bishop Emeritus Gonzalo Duarte is being investigated over accusations of cover-up and abuse.

In Chillán, there is a complaint against Bishop Carlos Pellegrín for an unspecified sexual crime.

In the Osorno case, the bishop emeritus of the diocese, Juan Barros, is being investigated for alleged cover-up of abuse perpetrated by the priest Fernando Karadima, who, in 2011, was found guilty of sexual abuse by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and sanctioned with canonical penalties.

In June, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishops Barros and Duarte.

The Archdiocese of Concepción explained in a statement that besides the raid of files and archives, statements were also taken from the judicial vicar, the promoter of justice, the chancellor and the notary.

A prosecutor “was shown that copies of the files and related sought-for information had already been handed over to the public prosecutor. In any case, the original files were placed at his disposal,” the archdiocese said.

The raids are the latest in a series that have been carried out in recent months, including at the Santiago tribunal, the Chilean Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Dioceses of Rancagua, Temuco, Villarrica and the military ordinariate.

This article was originally published by CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.