SANTIAGO – The Chilean Investigative Police (PDI) is looking into a sexual abuse case in the Jesuit Order, involving four priests and 90 possible victims. It is the first time that priests from the religious order appear in a sexual abuse case. Earlier this year, Chilean Jesuits’ former protagonist Renato Poblete was accused of sexual abuse.
According to La Tercera newspaper, the first sexual abuse accusations against Jesuit priests appeared at the PDI’s office earlier this month. Whistleblowers identified four priests and at least 90 victims.
The four priests, Eugenio Valenzuela, Jaime Guzmán, Leonel Ibacache and Juan Miguel Leturia, were already publicly investigated by the Jesuit Order, but it is the first time a criminal case has been opened against them.
Under most scrutiny is priest Jaime Guzmán, who is accused of taking photos of naked boys, who were part of his “spiritual retreats” in Cajón del Maipo.
In January of this year, the Jesuit Order had to open an investigation on what once was one of Chile’s most beloved priests, Renato Poblete, after receiving letters describing “serious crime and sexual abuse between 1985 and 1993,” committed by Poblete.
The Jesuits are not the only religious order facing sexual abuse accusations. For years, the Chilean Catholic Church has been involved in scandals involving hundreds of victims and dozens of priests and bishops.
It led to historic compensations for victims, the resignation of archbishop Ricardo Ezzati and criminal cases against notorious priests such as Fernando Karadima.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.