Celestino Aós accused of cover-up, one day after replacing Ezzati

SANTIAGO – Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati resigned as archbishop of Santiago last week, as he is being investigated in four separate cases for covering up sexual abuse. But one day after taking office, his replacement Celestino Aós has already appeared as suspect in one out of the many sexual abuse scandals in the country. He is being accused of the same crime Ezzati stepped down for.

Bishop Celestino Aós took Ricardo Ezzati’s seat as so-called apostolic administrator, an interim replacement of the archbishop, during a short ceremony at a mass on Sunday in the Santiago Cathedral. Aós promised “reforms and profound changes”, after the Church under Ricardo Ezzati covered up sexual abuse for years. But the Archbishop’s replacement is already suffering from the same accusations his predecessor stepped down for.

Ezzati resigns as archbishop: “I leave with my head held high”

Abuse accusations

Shortly after the appointment of Aós as administrator of the Archbishopric of Santiago, accusations against him arose about a possible cover-up of sexual abuse. In 2012, Aós served as investigator of sexual abuse in the Valparaíso region. While investigating a case of rape by a priest in that same year, he allegedly ignored evidence and closed an investigation without consulting victims and witnesses.

In an interview with Cooperativa, Celestino Aós denied having covered up the case, and defended his decision by stating there was not enough evidence back then to proceed with an investigation. In his new role of administrator, Aós did emphasize that he is planning on meeting with victims of sexual abuse. “Their abuses are absolutely intolerable and I will try to talk with the victims to see what we can do to help them, and also to see how they can help us”, he said.

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