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The iter sabbati began with news that in Chile authorities raided the headquarters of the Catholic church’s Episcopal Conference as part of a widespread investigation into sex abuse committed by members of the Catholic Marist Brothers. This coincided with reports that a grand jury yesterday revealed that more than 300 Catholic ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania abused over 1,000 children over seven decades.
First, Chile. The Guardian reports that:

The raid by investigating prosecutors and Chile’s equivalent of the FBI took place at one of the most important buildings of the Chilean church in the capital, Santiago. Prosecutor Raul Guzmán, who confirmed the raid, is investigating more than 35 accusations of abuse committed against former students at schools run by the Marists, who are religious brothers, not priests.

The raid follows a 2017 report which revealed that at least 14 minors were abused by a Marist Brother – Abel Perez  – from the 1970s until 2000 at the Instituto Alonso de Ercilla and the Marcelino Champagnat schools in Chile.
Perez acknowledged the abuse to his superiors in 2010 and was later transferred to Peru. But the order was advised at the time not to disclose the abuse until victims came forward, according to Brother Mariano Varona.
About Perez’s future, Varona said he would remain a member of the order despite the abuse, even if he is convicted and imprisoned.

You have to have mercy and also worry about the abuser. Abel Perez is a person. He has all our respect despite of what he’s done.


What Perez did to one victim – Jaime Concha is – detailed here.

‘Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who
were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.’

In Pennsylvania the grand jury investigation – thought to be the single most comprehensive report to date into abuse in the US church since The Boston Globe first exposed paedophile priests in Massachusetts in 2002 – revealed that a priest forced a nine-year-old boy to fellate him, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water to “purify him”.
Another priest abused five sisters from the same family, including one from the age of 18 months to 12 years. When the youngest victim of the family told her parents in 1992, a police search of the priest’s home found panties, plastic containers of pubic hairs, vials of urine and sexually suggestive photographs of young girls.
The church ignored credible allegations against him for years, and the priest died awaiting trial, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up. As a direct consequence of the systematic cover-up by senior church officials almost every instance of child sexual abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.

But while Tuesday’s report led to charges against two priests, one of whom has pleaded guilty, most of those responsible are dead and the vast majority of crimes happened too long ago to prosecute, officials said.
The two-year investigation by a grand jury into all but two Pennsylvania dioceses turned up dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of church records containing:

Credible allegations against over three hundred predator priests.

More than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but the “real number” was “in the thousands,” the grand jury estimated, given those children whose records were lost or who were afraid to ever come forward.
Victims were often traumatized for life, driven to drugs, alcohol and suicide, the grand jury said. The only recourse was to recommend changes to the law and expose what had happened to make sure such widespread abuse was never repeated.
One cleric raped a seven-year-old girl in hospital after she had her tonsils out, the report said. Another child drank juice, only to wake up the next morning bleeding from his rectum and unable to remember what had happened.
So far only two new priests are being charged with crimes that fall within the statute of limitations. One, accused of ejaculating into the seven-year-old boy’s mouth, pleaded guilty earlier this month, prosecutors said.
The other allegedly assaulted two boys, one of them for eight years starting from the age of eight. His alleged crimes continued until 2010.
The grand jury called for changes in the law that would scrap the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, give victims more time to file civil lawsuits and tighten legislation compelling people to report abuse they find out about. Their report said:

Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability. Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.

Church elders were instead promoted and predator priests allowed to remain in ministries for 10, 20 even 40 years after leaders learned of their crimes as the list of victims got longer and longer, Shapiro said.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Chile report).