Cardinal’s aide arrested for alleged child abuse

What happened?

The former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile, was arrested following allegations that he had abused seven children aged 11 to 17. Five of the reported victims were his nephews. The priest, Fr Óscar Muñoz Toledo, has been jailed pending a trial. Police are investigating the possibility that abuse claims were ignored by the archdiocese. Cardinal Riccardo Ezzati, who promoted the priest to the role in 2011, said Fr Muñoz told him in December that he had abused a nephew.

What Chileans are saying

As chancellor, Fr Muñoz was responsible for collecting testimony from abuse victims. Juan Carloz Cruz, one of those who reported his abuse to Fr Muñoz, wrote on Twitter: “The insolence – to put it mildly – is astonishing. He was the one who took our statements, and nothing happened.”

Another survivor who related his abuse to Fr Muñoz told a Chilean newspaper: “We are studying what legal actions to follow, because this seems very serious.”

The allegations date from 2002 to 2018, at the same time as many victims of serial abuser Fr Fernando Karadima were coming forward. Fr Muñoz was made vice chancellor of Santiago Archdiocese in 2003 (appointed by Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz) and promoted by the current archbishop, Cardinal Ezzati.

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