Catholic church releases the list of pedophilia-accused priests in Colombiatext_fields
The Catholic Church in Colombia has released a list of 26 priests who were accused of sexual abuse of minors in the region. It is in response to a court ruling in favour of a petition filed by a journalist investigating an alleged "network of paedophile clergy".
The Archdiocese of Medellin has released a list of priests accused of pedophilia between 1995 and 2019. Journalist Juan Pablo Barrientos pushed the Church to make this list public, reported AFP.
In response to the court order to release the list of alleged paedophile priests, Archbishop of Medellin Monsignor Ricardo Tobon said the Church wants to "show transparency and commitment". He added that there is no purpose for a cover-up. In a Twitter video, he accused the journalist of "an aggressive smear campaign against the Church."
In a video released on Saturday, Barrientos was heard saying that most of these priests were suspended for a little while and went back to being priests again. He added that the Church only divulged the names "because the court forced it".
The court hasn't yet commented on the allegations. It received 14 complaints on Thursday. A document published by the Church noted that the abuses were committed years ago.
Most people in Colombia are Roman Catholic and only six priests have so far served prison sentences for child rape in the South American country.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, there have been several revelations about child abuse by clergy and attempts by Church to cover them up across the globe. The majority of the victims are children in the age group 11-14 but some are as young as three years old. Similar cases have received significant attention in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, and Chile. A 2002 investigation by The Boston Globe drew attention to the systematic cover-up in the US.