The Santiago Court of Appeals overturned a first instance ruling and sentenced the Archdiocese of Santiago to pay a millionth in damages to victims of Fernando Karadima, an influential pastor who for decades sexually abused children and adolescents.
As confirmed today by those favored by the ruling, the Church will have to pay 450 million pesos (about 670,000 dollars) to James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz and José Andrés Murillo, according to the unanimous decision of the Ninth Chamber of the court of appeal.
In the first instance, Judge Juan Muñoz had rejected the lawsuit filed by the three abused by Karadima, who have led complaints against abuses committed by representatives of the Church and that were received a few months ago by Pope Francis in the Vatican.
The three have accused Cardinals Francisco Javier Errázuriz and Ricardo Ezzati, the first archbishop emeritus of Santiago and the second current incumbent of the Archdiocese, of covering up the abuses of Karadima, who a few weeks ago was expelled from the priesthood by the pope.
Karadima, to whom canonical justice condemned a life of prayer and penance, but to which the Chilean courts did not condemn for their prescribed crimes, was an influential parish priest in a wealthy neighborhood of Santiago, who trained fifty priests, that five became bishops.
The change of turn of the Justice was due, according to the newspaper La Tercera, to the discovery of a letter that Cardinal Errázuriz to the nuncio Giuseppe Pinto in 2009, in which he indicated that after receiving the complaints against Karadima had resolved not to question the pastor for Do not bother him.
The missive found during the raids on the Archdiocese of Santiago held last June by the regional prosecutor of O'Higgins, Emiliano Arias.
"HISTORICAL Church loses and admits concealment, negligence and lies, since today a safer world for children," Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima's victims, posted on social networks.
"Cardinal Errázuriz, Ezzati and his gang of bishops exposed as what they are … criminals! At last the triumph for so many who have suffered for their crimes," added Cruz, who lives in Philadelphia (United States).
"Marraqueta (bread) is more crispy today," said José Andrés Murillo, while James Hamilton wrote "Concealment = crime."
According to a cadastre published by the Chilean National Prosecutor's Office at the end of August, there are currently 119 investigations in progress against 167 persons related to the Church and 178 victims quantified, 79 of whom were minors when the events occurred.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops, after last May the 34 bishops of the country presented their resignation en bloc to the pontiff in the Vatican after acknowledging that they had committed "serious errors and omissions" .