Colombia’s Catholic Church suspends 15 priests for sexual abuse
Saturday, 04 April 2020
Colombia’s Catholic Church has suspended 15 priests accused of sex abuse, according to the spokesman of Archdiocese of Villavicencio, in the centre of the country.
“Fifteen priests from the archdiocese have been suspended as a precautionary measure (…) since they are the subject of a preliminary investigation,” Spokesperson Carlos Villabon is quoted by the French news agency AFP as saying.
The fifteen were accused in a complaint dated 14 February and filed by an adult male Colombian, the archdiocese said in a press release. The plaintiff, who was not identified by name, accused the priests of committing “acts contrary to sexual morality.”
The Office of the Public Prosecutor has been informed of the facts “and we have placed ourselves entirely at their disposal to collaborate with the investigation,” the church said in the press release.
The Colombian church said it had followed the broad guidelines issued by Pope Francis, advocating “zero tolerance for sexual attacks by members of the clergy.”
Majority-Catholic Columbia is preparing to celebrate Holy Week, like other countries, against the background of Covid-19, which has forced the authorities to place the country under lockdown.
The South American country has thus far registered 1,161 cases of the virus, including 19 deaths.