Chilean Archbishop Ezzati remains silent over covering up sexual abuse

RANCAGUA – Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago who stands trial for his involvement in the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, has decided to remain silent in his statement in front of the court today. The archbishop is being accused of alleged cover-up of sexual abuse, committed by the former Chancellor of the Archbishopric, Óscar Muñoz. Ezzati´s lawyer stated that he will collaborate on everything: “We have nothing to hide”.

The lawyer of the archbishop requested the trial to be postponed, for a lack of transparency. Earlier the defense had requested the whole investigation to be dismissed. Emiliano Arias, the prosecutor leading the national investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, postponed the hearing to Friday, October the 5th.

The Muñoz-case is not the first, and probably won´t be the last, in which Ezzati has to defend himself against accusations of involvement in the sexual abuse scandal. A letter has appeared in which the former Chancellor of the Archbishopric, Hans Kast, reveals sexual abuse committed by priest Jorge Laplagne. Kast requested an investigation on and measures against Laplagne, as a testimony of a victim was included, but Ricardo Ezzati decided to ignore and close the investigation.

Kast also send information on the victim to Raúl Hasbún, in charge of the informal investigation against Laplagne. Hasbún responded by stating he would review the case with then Vice Chancellor Óscar Muñoz, who is currently under investigation for sexual abuse – the reason Ricardo Ezzati had to appear in court today. Hasbún and Muñoz have later stated that closing the investigation was a decision of Ezzati himself, as well as doing nothing with reports on sexual abuse committed by Fernando Karadima.

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