Chilean sex-abuse victim to have Vatican interview

A Chilean sex-abuse victim will be interviewed personally by the Vatican’s sex-crimes expert, Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

Scicluna will travel to New York next week to interview the victim, Juan Carlos Cruz. The victim is at the centre of a scandal involving Pope Francis.

Cruz says a letter he wrote in 2015 asking Pope Francis to listen to his testimony about clergy abuse and its subsequent cover-up has been ignored.

The Associated Press (AP) claims Francis received the victim’s letter in 2015, which detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it.

The AP statements contradict Francis’s insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the coverup.

If the APs statements are true, they could undermine Francis’s assertions of “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse and those who seek to cover it up.

The accusations against Francis emerged last month during his trip to South America.

Francis said he had not heard from any victims about Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused of witnessing and ignoring abuse perpetrated by Fr. Fernando Karadima.

His response that the accusations were slanderous sparked an outcry in Chile.

Marie Collins, who was a founding member of Pope Francis’s Commission for the Protection of Minors but who resigned in early 2017, says his handling of the Chilean abuse survivor’s letter has “definitely undermined credibility, trust and hope” in Francis.

“He has said all the right things and he has expressed all the right views on abuse, and the harm and the hurt, but in this case at least it would seem his actions have not matched the words, and that is sad,” she says.

Collins says she personally handed the letter from Cruz to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“Cardinal O’Malley said he would hand it to the pope, and he told us later he had done so and that he had discussed the concerns with the pope himself,” Collins says.

Francis told reporters on a flight back from South America that no victims had come forward to him about the case.


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