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In the U.S., Catholic leaders have come under intense pressure for concealing priests’ sex crimes, and for transferring perpetrators among parishes rather than turning them over to law enforcement. The scandal has cost the church billions of dollars and led to a sharp decline in new clergy. In response, in 2002 U.S. bishops approved a “zero-tolerance” policy, under which priests who molest children are no longer allowed a second chance to serve in the clergy. Victim advocates say that relocating priests to poorer parishes overseas is the church’s latest strategy for protecting its reputation.
“As developed countries find it tougher to keep predator priests on the job, bishops are increasingly moving them to the developing world where there’s less vigorous law enforcement, less independent media and a greater power differential between priests and parishioners,” said David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “This is massive, and my suspicion is that it’s becoming more and more pronounced.”
• Father Carlos Urrutigoity, accused of sharing beds with and fondling teenage boys in Scranton, Pa. The bishop of Scranton called him a “serious threat to young people,” but in Paraguay, reporters found him leading Mass in a major church. He had been promoted to second-in-command of the diocese of Ciudad del Este.
• Father Francisco “Fredy” Montero, accused of abusing a 4-year-old girl in Minneapolis, Minn. He relocated to his native Ecuador, where he was placed in a succession of remote parishes — despite a dossier sent by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis to his new diocese, warning of Montero’s past.
• Father Paul Madden, who admitted molesting a 13-year-old boy on a mission trip when he was stationed in Jackson, Miss. The diocese paid the victim’s family $50,000 and Madden moved to the diocese of Chimbote, Peru, where he still celebrates Mass each week.
The unholy Father Paul Madden
Father Paul Madden offers communion to a congregant in Puerto Huarmey, Peru. (Photo: Jimmy Chalk, GlobalPost)
• Father Jan Van Dael, accused of molesting several young men in his native Belgium before moving to northeastern Brazil, where he started an orphanage for street kids. Van Dael is under investigation by Belgian and Brazilian authorities after accusations of abuse arose in Brazil, too.
• Another priest we tracked down, Father Federico Fernandez Baeza, was indicted by a grand jury in 1987 on two second-degree felony charges of indecency with a child.
A family in San Antonio, Texas accused Fernandez in a civil lawsuit of ritually raping two brothers over a two-year period. Prosecutors dropped the criminal case after the diocese of San Antonio reportedly paid the family more than $1 million. Fernandez flew to Colombia, where he continued a high-profile career in the church. We traced him to the city of Cartagena, where he’s a senior administrator and priest at a Catholic university. After consulting with Fernandez’s office, university guards prohibited us from entering the campus, and Fernandez has not responded to requests for comment.
The priests told us they have been allowed to continue preaching unfettered, without facing internal investigations, despite Pope Francis’ pledges to clean up the church. Last year, the pope sent a letter to every bishop in the world, ordering them to follow a global “zero tolerance policy” on child abuse. This year he created a commission tasked specifically with protecting children from church sex abuse. Following repeated phone calls and emails, both the Vatican’s press office and the head of the commission, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, declined to provide comment for this story.
originally posted by: olaru12
Why in the name of all that's holy are American priests exempt from the laws the rest of us have to adhere to?