GlobalPost has a disturbing investigative report that uncovered scores of Catholic priests who sexually abused children in the United States and elsewhere being reassigned to safe heavens in South American countries where they are now in charge of churches in mostly poorer parishes and can avoid being held accountable for the children they abused. The report gives the impression Pope Francis' supposed reforms is really more about the church continuing its sordid practice of protecting child abusing priests and covering up their crimes.
. . . Even as Pope Francis has touted reform of the Vatican’s safeguards against child abuse, GlobalPost has found that the Catholic Church has allowed allegedly abusive priests to slip off to parts of the world where they would face less scrutiny from prosecutors and the media.
In a yearlong investigation, we tracked down and confronted five such priests. All were able to continue working for the church despite serious accusations against them. When we found them, all but one continued to lead Mass, mostly in remote, poor communities in South America.
Some of these men faced criminal investigations, but went abroad without charges being brought against them. One of the priests admitted to GlobalPost that he had molested a 13-year-old boy, and acknowledged that he can never work again in the US. He continues to preach in a small Peruvian fishing village. Another is currently under investigation by authorities in Brazil for a string of alleged molestations, including accusations in the poor neighborhoods where for two decades he ran a home for street children — with the support of the Catholic Church.
GlobalPost interviewed one diocese leader in these communities, but was otherwise not granted interviews with local church officials. And despite protracted efforts and discussions with church press officers, neither the Vatican nor the chairman of a new papal commission set up specifically to tackle church child abuse would speak with us.
For advocates and attorneys who have studied abusive Catholic priests for decades, the flight of these fathers overseas represents just the latest chapter in a long story of deceit, collusion and church-sponsored impunity for child abusers . . .One of the priests GlobalPost tracked down in Lima, Peru admitted to sexually abusing a 13-year old boy in Jackson, Mississippi. The priest explained his crime by saying he had gotten drunk for the first time in his life and woke up in bed with a boy.