Friday, July 19, 2024
 
 

Priests of disgraced Legion face trial for getting abuse victim to lie

EPA/DANILO SCHIAVELLA
Lights in the windows of the Pope's apartment in the Apostolic Palace (top R) can be seen across an empty St Peter's Square in the Vatican as John Paul II watches the traditional re-enactment of the Way of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum on the television, late Good Friday, 25 March 2005 as part of Holy Week ceremonies in Rome. For the first time, John Paul II did not attend the Way of the Cross as he is still recovering from recent tracheotomia surgery.

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Four priests and a lawyer from the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order are due to stand trial on charges they tried to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim.
According to an internal report published in December, the late founder of the Roman Catholic Church branch, Father Marcial Maciel, admitted to sexually abusing at least 60 children, some as young as 12. The report also revealed that over the last eight decades, 33 of its priests have sexually molested 175 children.
In an attempt to reform the order, the Vatican made known the results of the study, even though it previously strongly rejected accusations that Maciel had abused the minors.
However, Vatican’s efforts are being investigated again. Prosecutors said that evidence showed an elaborate cover-up of the priests’ crimes.
In 2013, Yolanda Martinez was offered by the Legion €15,000 as a compensation for the sexual abuse did to her son by the priests. In return, her son would have to lie, and recant a testimony he previously gave, according to which the priest had repeatedly assaulted him when he was 12.
The conversation between the mother and the late Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, Pope Benedict XVI’s personal envoy, was wiretapped. The tape and the six-page settlement proposal are key pieces of evidence in a criminal trial opening next month in Milan.
Benedict had entrusted De Paolis to reform the order after revelations that Maciel had molested his students, fathered three children and built a cult-like order to hide his crimes. However, he did not confront the existence of sexual abuse and secrecy. As a result, the reform was dismissed as ineffective.
“They say they’re close to the victims and help their families. My testimony is this didn’t happen”, Martinez said.

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