Four Mexican bishops suspected of sex abuse

Four Mexican bishops are among many clergy in Mexico suspected of sex crimes. The crimes are currently being investigated by two of the Vatican’s top sex crimes investigators.

The investigators are on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the world’s second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.

Nuncio Franco Coppola said in January and December an email address the Catholic church in Mexico had opened to receive abuse allegations took in dozens of allegations, mostly accounts of cover ups.

He said although 217 priests are being investigated, there are other cases in which religious orders sent complaints directly to Rome, which means the number could be higher.

Investigators Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu will meet with church leaders and alleged victims during their week-long visit.

Auxiliary Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, general secretary of the bishops’ conference said the Church had requested aid from the Vatican to help the youngest and most vulnerable in Mexico.

“We’re confident it will improve the response to these cases, looking for civil and canonical justice under the principles of zero tolerance, so that no case goes unpunished in our Church,” he said.

The Vatican embassy in Mexico City expressly wants victims to come forward to speak with the two prelates, offering them an email address to send their testimony, a phone number to call and total privacy and confidentiality.

Clerical sex abuse survivors have expressed skepticism over the Vatican investigative commission that will collect statements and information about abuse in Mexico.

Nonetheless, most said they would meet with the investigators.

“Only by speaking with them can you demand results,” said survivor Biani López-Antúnez.

“The results of this visit must be measured exclusively by the facts because I’m tired of the fake actions that operate at all levels of the Church.”

The Mexican bishops are hopeful the investigative process will bear fruit.

“We are certain it will help us respond better to these cases, looking for civil and canonical justice under the principle of ‘zero tolerance’ so that there is no impunity in our church,” the bishops said.

Scicluna and Bertomeu are part of a taskforce created last year by Pope Francis to assist in countries where the Church had no guidance for dealing with sexual abuse cases.

The two led the Vatican’s 2018 investigation into sexual abuse in Chile, producing a 2,300-page report that sparked the resignation of several of the country’s top bishops.


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