LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Bolivia acknowledged Wednesday that the church had been deaf to the suffering of victims of sexual abuse, commenting as a pedophilia scandal involving priests is rocking the country.In a statement, the Andean nation’s Catholic bishops said that “as a church, we are facing a painful moment … because we are certain that we have been directly or indirectly involved in the deep pain caused to innocent victims.”
The statement comes amid the fallout from the case involving a late Spanish Jesuit priest, Alfonso Pedrajas. According to a private diary accessed by the Spanish newspaper El País, Pedrajas allegedly abused dozens of minors in Catholic boarding schools in Bolivia in the 1970s and 1980s. He died of cancer in 2009.
Earlier this week, Jordi Bertemeu, one of the Vatican’s top sex crimes investigators, arrived in Bolivia.
The bishops said that while “we know there is no way to compensate for the damage caused, we are committed to do everything possible to … seek a reparation, with the support of professionals who provide assistance and help heal wounds and scars.”
The Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation — which remains confidential — and has called on the victims to testify. New cases of sexual abuse have been uncovered as a result of this probe and one priest was sent to pre-trial dete …
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