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Chile prosecutors seek Vatican files of priests in sex scandal

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Santiago, Chile | Thu, August 2, 2018 | 09:10 am
Chile prosecutors seek Vatican files of priests in sex scandal This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis (center) blesses the faithful from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica during the traditional (Handout/OSSERVATORE ROMANO/AFP/File)

Prosecutors in Chile on Wednesday said they have requested the Vatican files of nine Chilean priests being investigated for sexual abuses.

"The National Prosecutor, Jorge Abbott, today signed an official letter addressed to the Vatican (..), requesting canonical records involving accused persons investigated by the Public Prosecutor's Office," the National Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. 

The petition includes three requests for help in criminal cases of nine members of the church.

In July, prosecutors said Chile was investigating 158 members of the country's embattled Catholic Church -- both clergymen and lay people -- for perpetrating or concealing the sexual abuse of children and adults.

The cases relate to incidents dating back as far as 1960 and involving 266 victims, including 178 children and adolescents.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops amid accusations of abuse and related cover-ups.

The developments have been welcomed by campaigners who have accused the church of being involved in a cover-up stretching back decades.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Pope Francis has repeatedly apologized to parishioners over the scandal, admitting the Church failed "to listen and react" to allegations spanning decades, but vowed to "restore justice." 

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