Another abuse accusation shakes Chile’s Catholics

SANTIAGO/CONCEPCIÓN – Last week, an anonymous person accused a Catholic Church cleric in the southern city of Concepción. In a letter, he described the abuse of his son at the Concepción minors seminary in 2002 by priest Hernán Enríquez Rosas. The priest teaches at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (UCSC).

A new case of sexual abuse emerged last week through a letter the victim’s father sent to news site Sabes. Hernán Enríquez Rosas, who teaches at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (UCSC), allegedly abused the victim, now 14 years old, in 2002. Both accuser and victim remain anonymous.

The father explained that his son wanted to study at UCSC. After the admission interview with Enríquez Rosas, the cleric told the family that the boy would get a room next to the priest due to his newcomer status. But soon the boy asked his family to come and pick him up, because he didn’t want to be there anymore.

In 2009, the boy told his family about what had happened, saying Father Hernán raped him. “Indeed, our child revealed to us the secret about what he had been suffering ever since. The rector of the Concepción Minor Seminary, Priest Hernán Enríquez Rosas raped our little child,” the letter reads.

That year, they went to the Concepción prosecutor’s office to denounce the priest, but the entity remained indifferent, arguing it wasn’t responsible for such cases. Next, the family went to the criminal police (PDI, Spanish acronym), which didn’t act at all either. After that, they contacted archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, who, though he heard the case, did not share the information with bishop Pedro Ossandón.

Through Concepción’s archbishop Fernando Chomalí the Church contacted the father and explained that due process had started under the leadership of the Vatican and Chile’s Episcopal Conference, and the Canon Law’s rules. The archbishop reportedly urged the father to also use civil justice because it was his right. Since then, the archbishop has been leading an investigation into Enríquez Rosas.
The university offers its collaboration.

The university offers its collaboration

As a reaction to the case, the UCSC promised its collaboration. The institution expressed its regret about the profound sorrow the family is passing through, and sympathizes with its desire to find a solution.

“We are dismayed and affected by the accusations against one of our professors,” the university said on national TV. The university also remarked that no internal accusation against the priest exists, and that it supports the investigations of the public ministry and the Church.

After the Karadima case, in which Fernando Karadima was exposed as sexual abuser, several Church offices were raided, recently in Temuco and Villarrica. Officials found documents with abuse allegations against five priests. According to CNN Chile, the prosecutor had to get a court order to seize the documents, because the clerics refused handing them over.

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