Thursday, July 26, 2012

New allegation against a prominent Legionary of Christ

Suspenden en Chile a legionario de Cristo

SANTIAGO DE CHILE, Chile, July 25, 2012. - A Legionary priest of Irish descent was suspended today for his work in a Chilean school where he is the chaplain , after a student's family denounced him for alleged sexual abuse .

In this case, the Archbishop of Santiago and president of the Episcopal Conference in Chile, Ricardo Ezzati, confirmed today to reporters that a canonical investigation has been opened about allegations against John O'Reilly, spiritual adviser to several Santiago colleges.

"I have asked the provincial superior of the Legionaries of Christ to open a canonical investigation, according to the rules specified in the documents of the church, which he did today," said Ezzati.

The Colegio Cumbres, in the affluent area of ​​Las Condes Santiago, requested the Prosecutor to investigate the allegation made by the mother of a minor student has made acccusations of sexual abuse of John O'Reilly, the institution said today in a statement.

The educational center suspended the priest of all activities to clarify the facts, which according to the complaint took place between 2010 and 2012.

The priest has pleaded his innocence and said the allegations against him are "an unfortunate mistake." However, he expressed his willingness to collaborate in the investigations to be undertaken by Ignacio Pinto, attorney specializing in sexual offenses.

The Archbishop of Santiago acknowledged that many complaints involving religious. "There are so many and even one would be very serious. However, the Church is much more than that," he said.

In 2008, the Chilean Parliament approved grant of Chilean nationality "by grace" to O'Reilly, a resident in the country since 1985, "for his apostolic work and education directed to the world of youth."

The distinction is reserved for foreigners who have rendered prominent service to Chile.

O'Reilly has launched several schools in Santiago located primarily in high-income areas and has participated in the Entrepreneurial Generation Foundation, to which serves as the spiritual adviser.

O'Reilly's case comes just days after the National Prosecuting Authority of Chile announced the initiation of investigations into alleged sexual abuse in about 60 schools in the capital, 49 of them in the western area, which includes high-powered neighborhoods such as Las Condes.

According to the latest bulletin of the National Prosecuting Authority in the first half of 2012 there was a 22% increase in the number of complaints of sexual abuse against children under 14 years compared to the same period in 2011.

In this situation, the Government of Sebastian Pinera approved the application of ten measures to strengthen the prevention and combating sexual abuse of minors.

One case of alleged sexual abuse that caused more commotion recently was the case of the priest Cristián Precht, a symbol of human rights during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

On June 28 the Chilean Catholic Church considered "credible" allegations about sexual abuse allegedly committed by Precht in the early eighties and sent the record to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

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