Irish priest must leave Chile after completing prison sentence

SANTIAGO – John O´Reilly, the Irish priest who was convicted in 2015 for the abuse of a 5-year-old girl, has completed his prison sentence of four years yesterday. According to Chilean law, he must leave the country within 72 hours. Upon his release, O´Reilly spoke briefly with waiting journalists, stating that “he is everything but pedophile”.

Irish priest John O´Reilly, convicted for the abuse of a five-year-old girl, has completed his four-year prison sentence. After leaving prison, he appeared briefly in front of the cameras of journalists waiting for the priest. O´Reilly commented that “everything is fine”, and added, “the only thing I want to add is that I am not a pedophile”.

O´Reilly has three days to leave the country, as he is a convicted criminal according to Chilean law. The priest had during his prison sentence requested that his expulsion would be suspended, but the Chilean Supreme Court rejected. O´Reilly must leave the country before Thursday, 72 hours after completing his prison sentence.

Sexual abuse of a 5-year-old girl

While teaching at Cumbres school, O´Reilly was found guilty of sexually abusing a five-year old girl. He was also suspected of sexually abusing others but was never convicted for these cases. Investigators and lawyers claimed these victims were threatened by the priest’s inner circle and offered financial compensation for changing their statements.

John O´Reilly was working as a priest in Chile since 1984 and was granted Chilean nationality in 2008. After his conviction, his Chilean nationality was revoked.

Sexual abuse scandal in Chile

The Chilean Catholic Church has been mired for years in a large-scale sexual abuse scandal. Archbishops and priests participated in abuse of minors or covered up crimes committed by other members of their parishes.

The Vatican sent investigators earlier this year to Chile, to look into the widespread sexual abuse, and Pope Francis himself met with victims. He also expulsed various Chilean priests and bishops from the Catholic Church, as the ultimate punishment.

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