Vatican investigator meets with Chilean sex abuse victims

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The Vatican’s sex abuse investigator on Tuesday begun a series of meetings in Chile with abuse victims and others who have opposed the appointment of a bishop accused of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.

Pope Francis has strongly backed Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” in 2010. The Chilean conference of bishops said that Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna will also talk to a delegation of lay Catholics and priests from the Chilean diocese of Osorno during four days of meetings.

The conference did not provide the names of the victims to protect their privacy, but it said that Scicluna will be meeting both with people who reached out, as well as those that he demanded to interview.

He also said that he will exclusively be gathering information on Barros.

On Saturday, Scicluna met in New York with Juan Carlos Cruz, a key victim in the Chilean sex abuse scandal. Cruz said that Scicluna told him that he would gather all the evidence and testimony from victims in the Barros case and speak directly to Francis about it. He also said that the conversation was not exclusively about Barros.