UPDATE: raids on churches of Concepción, Valparaíso, Chillán and Osorno

SANTIAGO – In a new chapter of the longlasting sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, police have raided offices of the Church in various cities over Chile today. In Concepción, Valparaíso, Chillán and Osorno the raids were performed at the same time. Although against different priests and bishops, the charges all involve sexual abuse.

Emiliano Arias, prosecutor of O´Higgins and head of investigations in the sexual abuse scandal that has been shaking Chile for years now, gave earlier this week the order to raid the offices today. Exactly at the same time, at 11.15 in the morning, the raids took place, performed by Carabineros under the control of the Public Ministry.

In Concepción, Chile´s second largest city, the investigation was aimed against Reinaldo Méndez, priest in the parish of Hualqui, who has been accused of rape. In Chillán, the investigation and the raid was aimed against bishop Carlos Pellegrín. Although the exact accusations haven´t been revealed by the Chilean Carabineros, officials state it involves a sex crime.

In Valparaíso, the former bishop Gonzalo Duarte, who was replaced a few months ago after accusations of covering up sexual abuse by Pope Francisco, has been arrested in the aftermath of the raid in the port city.

In Osorno, where former Bishop Juan Barros resided, who also had been replaced by Pope Francisco after covering up the widespread sexual abuse by Fernando Karadima, there were raids on the bishopric after new developments in the Karadima-case.

The Catholic Church in Chile has been suffering under its biggest sexual abuse scandal ever. Recently, the Public Ministry in Chile announced they are investigating over 119 cases of sexual abuses and cover-ups, among those investigated seven bishops and 91 priests. Among the 179 victims of these cases, at least 79 are minors.

Read also:

Another abuse accusation shakes Chile’s Catholics

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