Chilean police raid bishops over sex abuse allegations

Chilean priest Oscar Munoz Toledo (C) remains at a courtroom in Rancagua, 80 km south of Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 14 July 2018

Chilean police raid bishops over sex abuse allegations

  • Munoz, 56, faces a 15 year prison sentence for the alleged abuse
  • The Chilean church has been hit by pedophilia scandals implicating dozens of priests

SANTIAGO: Chilean authorities on Friday seized documents and computers in raids targeting the Catholic church in the cities of Temuco and Villarrica amid a pedophilia scandal that has gripped the country, judicial sources said.
Local media reported the investigation began on June 19 following allegations of sexual abuse against five clergy members.
The operations took place after the bishops of those cities refused to hand over information requested by prosecutors.
The raids came after prominent Chilean Catholic priest Oscar Munoz, who was vice-chancellor and then chancellor in the archdiocese of Santiago, was detained Thursday over allegations that he sexually abused and raped seven children between 2002 and 2018.
Munoz, 56, faces a 15 year prison sentence for the alleged abuse, which took place from 2002 in the capital Santiago and the southern city of Rancagua.
He was placed in preventative detention on Friday.
The Chilean church has been hit by pedophilia scandals implicating dozens of priests. Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of five bishops, four of whom were accused of turning a blind eye to abuse or covering it up.


EU weighs options as Turkey stand-off grinds on

Updated 4 min 43 sec ago

EU weighs options as Turkey stand-off grinds on

BRUSSELS: European Council chief Charles Michel said Friday that Turkey has not de-escalated its stand-off with Greece and warned EU members now need to consider tougher options.
“I think that the cat and mouse game needs to end,” Michel said, referring to Turkey’s repeated incursions into Greek waters with gas exploration vessels.
“We will have a debate at the European summit on December 10 and we are ready to use the means at our disposal,” he added.
Next week’s EU summit will be held in Brussels with leaders meeting face-to-face after videoconferences were held as a coronavirus prevention measure.
One possibility, backed by some members, would be economic sanctions, but many states are not convinced.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a conference in Italy “the EU Council will have to take the decision that only the EU can take, because the sanctions regime, it’s a matter for the member states.”
“There are not very many positive signals that came from Turkey during these months — in Cyprus and on the drilling, the talks between Greece and Turkey have not been developing,” he said.
Turkey has been challenging Greece over maritime territory in the Eastern Mediterranean, repeatedly sending a gas exploration vessel into Greek waters.
Both countries are NATO members and the alliance has set up a “de-confliction mechanism” to help avoid accidental military clashes.


But a German-led diplomatic approach to Ankara has made little progress in resolving the underlying issues, and some EU members — notably France and Greece itself — are pushing for stronger action.
Other EU capitals are more cautious, some fearing an escalating stand-off could see Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government once again allow a wave of refugees to head for EU borders.
Michel, who will host the summit, expressed Europe’s frustration.
“In October, after a very dense and strategic high level exchange, we defined a very positive offer to Turkey, we extended our hands,” he told a news conference to mark his first year in office.
“But the condition to move in that area is that Turkey needs to stop unilateral provocations, hostile statements, and the non-respect of international principles and rules-based society.
“Well, since October, things have not been very positive,” Michel noted.
“Since that time, we’ve seen that there have been unilateral acts that have taken place, a hostile rhetoric has been expressed.”
Backed by Turkish navy frigates, the research vessel the Oruc Reis was first deployed in August and again in October to the waters off Kastellorizo island, in defiance of EU and US calls to stop.
It returned to port again in October, but may go back to the disputed zone while Ankara says that, with its long Mediterranean coastline, its claim to sovereign waters in the region is stronger than Greece’s, which is based on its ownership of tiny Kastellorizo.