Chilean police raid Catholic Church offices amid abuse probe

Source: Associated Press

By PATRICIA LUNA

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Police and prosecutors raided Roman Catholic Church offices in two Chilean cities Wednesday looking for files, investigative reports and documents related to a sex abuse scandal that has damaged the clergy’s reputation in the South American country.

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

“In Chile, we are all subject to common justice,” said prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who led the raid in Santiago.

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, said church officials “gave the prosecutor all the requested documentation.” He added that they are “available to cooperate with the civilian justice system in all that is required.”

In May, all of Chile’s 30-plus active bishops offered to quit over their collective guilt in failing to protect Chile’s children from priests who raped, groped and molested them.

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