Chile prosecutors question bishop in clerical abuse scandal
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Prosecutors questioned Roman Catholic bishop emeritus Juan Barros as part of an investigation into sex abuse allegations against a former Chilean military chaplain.
Barros, who has been accused of covering up the abuses of notorious predator priest Fernando Karadima, arrived on foot at the police sex crimes division in the capital Thursday to be questioned on the case involving a different cleric — former chaplain Pedro Quiroz.
Quiroz was part of the military bishops’ office headed by Barros between 2004 and 2015. According to statement from the office in late August, there were several complaints against Quiroz from between 1997 and 2000. The document said investigators didn’t get the victims’ statements necessary to determine responsibility in the cases.
At the end of Thursday’s questioning, Barros said: “I contributed what I could contribute. I told the prosecutor what I had known or didn’t know.”
Barros has been at the center of Chile’s growing clerical sex abuse scandal since Pope Francis appointed him bishop in 2015 over the objections of the local faithful, the pope’s own sex abuse prevention advisers and some of Chile’s other bishops.
The critics questioned Barros’ appointment since he had been a top lieutenant of Karadima and had been accused by the priest’s victims of witnessing and ignoring abuses.
Barros denied the charge but twice offered to resign in the ensuing years. Francis accepted his resignation in June.