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CHILE, October 3, 2018 ( – Chilean prosecutors are currently investigating 126 Catholic clergy or members of religious orders accused of sexually preying on minors and adults, following an explosion of protests over Pope Francis’ support of a Chilean bishop accused of complicity in sex abuse in January of this year.

As is the case in the sex abuse crisis in the United States, Canada, and Europe, the vast majority of purported victims are adolescent and young adult males, adding further weight to the view that the crisis is not primarily one of pedophilia, but rather of homosexual male pederasty.

According to Chile’s national public prosecutor’s office, the Fiscalía Nacional, the number of investigations underway has increased dramatically in the last three months, with an additional 70 suspects added to the total. The total number of cases under investigation has now more than tripled since July.

According to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, the number of cases has swelled recently due to new discoveries of “dozens of files” of canonical cases regarding clerical sex abuse discovered in “key sites” of the dioceses of Rancagua and Santiago following raids conducted by police.

Chilean police have raided other diocesan facilities, including those of Valparaíso, Concepción, Osorno, and Chillán, in the last month, for a total of 16 offices raided in 2018.

La Tercera reports that the “principal” cases are directed against members of the country’s bishops’ conference who “would have had knowledge of abuses committed by prelates and which – they are investigating – would have silenced the victims to avoid going to the normal authorities and to [enable them to] relocate the accused.”

Prosecutors say that they have investigated a total of eight bishops since the year 2000. A large number of those are likely to be current cases.

Homosexual victimization of adolescents constitutes majority of cases

The breakdown by age and sex of reported victims indicates that the sex abuse crisis in Chile is principally one of male homosexual pederasty and predation rather than pedophilia.

According to the report, 63 percent of purported victims were 11-18 years of age, and 72 percent of victims were 11-25. A little over 22 percent of victims were under the age of 11. Out of the cases in which the sex of the victim was known (which was the case in 75 percent of sex abuse reports), 73 percent of the victims were males.

Also following the pattern in North America and Europe, the majority of accused perpetrators are middle-aged or elderly priests. Only 20 percent are under the age of 46.

Click here to learn about St. Peter Damian’s struggle against an epidemic of sodomy and corruption among the clergy of the eleventh century, a story with great relevance for the Catholic Church today.

Since 2000, prosecutors have investigated a total of 229 members of the Catholic Church for sex abuse, according to the same report. In 103 of those cases, the investigation has already come to an end. One hundred and twenty-six people continue to be investigated.

There have been a total of 272 reports of sexual abuse filed with prosecutors, and a total of 245 reported victims during that time.

Explosion of cases follows accusations of Pope Francis cover-up in January

The skyrocketing number of cases under investigation has followed an explosion of protests in January against Pope Francis over his role in the appointment of a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros. Barros is accused of complicity in crimes of sexual abuse committed by his ecclesiastical patron, Fernando Karadima. Victims of Karadima, who was prohibited from functioning publicly as a priest by Pope Benedict, say that Barros saw the abuse and did nothing.

Pope Francis for years insistently defended Barros, whom he moved to the diocese of Osorno in 2015, and dismissed accusations against the bishop as “calumny” and “slander.” He also claimed that he was open to hearing the testimony of victims but that they had never contacted him, a claim that was shown to be false when the Associated Press revealed in February that Cardinal Sean O’Malley had delivered a letter from a victim directly to Francis himself.

Following the protests and the revelation of his own falsehoods regarding Barros, Francis issued a muted apology and ordered a Vatican investigation of the Church in Chile. The investigation resulted in a report that indicated a large-scale problem of sex abuse cover-up and homosexuality in the clergy, and most of the 34 Chilean bishops submitted their resignations to Francis. The pope has since accepted seven of the resignations.

Pope Francis removed Karadima from the priesthood in late September, making him ineligible to say Mass or hear confessions, even in private, except in cases of danger of death. He also defrocked two other Chilean priests accused of sex abuse earlier this year: Jaime da Fonseca in August, and Cristián Precht Bañados in mid-September.

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