An investigator appointed by the Pope will meet a Chilean abuse victim whose testimony was apparently overlooked by Francis when he said he had received no proof of an abuse cover-up.
The Pope’s remarks that he had not seen any evidence against Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno – made once during his visit to Chile and again on the papal plane home – provoked intense criticism.
It was later reported that Cardinal Seán O’Malley had handed the Pope a letter containing detailed allegations about Bishop Barros turning a blind eye to abuse by his mentor, Fr Fernando Karadima, while he was a still a priest.
Following the uproar over his comments the Pope named Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s veteran prosecutor of sex abuse crimes, to look into the matter. A statement said that new information had emerged.
Archbishop Scicluna is scheduled to meet Juan Carlos Cruz, the man at the centre of the row, in New York tomorrow. It was Cruz’s testimony, contained in the letter delivered by Cardinal O’Malley, that the Pope was reportedly given. Mr Cruz said Archbishop Scicluna phoned him to arrange a face-to-face meeting after the Associated Press drew attention to his testimony given to the Pope three years ago. Originally they had planned to talk on Skype.
Mr Cruz had said the Pope’s dismissal of evidence against Bishop Barros had felt like a “slap in the face”. The Pope had said the allegations were nothing more than “calumny”.
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