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Bishop at heart of abuse cover-up claims testifies in Chile

February 24, 2018

Archbishop Charles Scicluna points during a press conference prior to a meeting with people who claim to have been victims of sexual abuse by members of the Church, in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Scicluna, arrived in Chile on Monday, sent by the Pope Francis, to gather testimonies accusing the Archbishop of Osorno of covering up sexual abuses committed by priest Fernando Karadima. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The Chilean bishop accused of covering up sex abuse by a pedophile priest has testified before a Vatican mission looking into the allegations, a priest involved in the interviews said Friday.

Bishop Juan Barros has been among those interviewed by the team, said the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, who has been handling recent interviews in the investigation. But he did not say when the interview occurred, or whether Barros appeared voluntarily or was summoned.

Barros has been accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” in 2010.

Barros has denied knowing of the abuse.

The investigation is being led by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who was released from a hospital earlier in the day after undergoing gallbladder surgery.

Before being hospitalized Tuesday, he had started his interviews with victims and others opposed to the pope’s appointment and support of Barros.

The Chilean Catholic bishop’s conference said that Scicluna will extend his visit until Wednesday and that he will continue conducting the interviews with Bertomeu.

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