The archbishop emeritus of Santiago Francisco Javier Errazuriz said today before the Chilean prosecutor as charged for alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse against minors in the Catholic Church.
This was confirmed to the press at the North Central Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office in Santiago, the regional prosecutor of O'Higgins, Emiliano Arias, who is in charge of investigating the hundreds of cases of abuses and cover-ups that have surfaced in Chile. in recent years.
"The imputation refers to his conduct, compliance or failure to comply with his obligations as archbishop in this case, in various cases that were mentioned when he made his rights known," said the prosecutor.
Arias pointed out that Errázuriz, 85, is charged with "approximately 10 investigations" on the alleged cover-up commission.
Errázuriz was archbishop of Santiago from 1998 to 2008, so the investigations against him refer to that time as the highest figure of the Catholic Church in the Chilean capital.
The elderly archbishop emeritus was replaced by Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who is also accused by prosecutor Arias for alleged cover-up committed in the capital's archdiocese, and who was removed from office last week by Pope Francis after accepting his resignation.
On Ezzati, who was called in the past to testify by the prosecutor of O'Higgins and decided not to do so, Arias said that now that he has been removed from his post in Santiago, his defense has requested a new summons to appear before the Public Prosecutor's Office. .
"We have not yet proven whether we agree to this person being cited or not, it is important to note that the declaration before a prosecutor is not a right of the accused and is not essential to make a decision regarding the formalization or not from a person, "Arias said.
O'Higgins regional prosecutor also referred to the sentence of the Court of Appeals of Santiago that on Wednesday sentenced the Archdiocese of Santiago to pay three victims of the influential Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who for decades sexually abused children and adolescents.
The Justice determined that the sociologist José Andrés Murillo, the journalist Juan Carlos Cruz and the physician James Hamilton, the three complainants, receive 100 million pesos (about 147,000 dollars) each.
"It is a very relevant ruling in relation to the investigations that fell in. Also in this case, the ruling undoubtedly reveals a certain standard of culpability in that it speaks of the negligence or non-compliance of certain obligations in only one case," Arias said. .
In that sense, he pointed out that this ruling can be used to "analyze not only a single case, but all the cases that were submitted to the Archbishopric of Santiago," he explained.
"Every time there is a relevant procedural fact, more victims have approached, and without going any further, a person came to the O'Higgins Prosecutor's Office and we hope that this will continue to occur," said Arias.
The Chilean National Prosecutor's Office investigates 219 Chilean religious in 158 cases of sexual abuse against 241 victims, of which 123 were minors at the time of the events.