Less than a week before Pope Francis' historic visit to the United States, a damning report has emerged claiming to have found evidence that the Catholic Church continues to protect priests accused of sexually abusing children.
A GlobalPost report details findings from a yearlong investigation including interviews with the accused, which suggest that the church has transferred clergy accused of child sexual abuse to third-world regions of South America, where the men continue to serve as clergy around children.
The report is accompanied by a short video titled "Fugitive Fathers," featuring interviews with the accused.
In the report, GlobalPost suggests the clergy members still receive "unfettered access to young people" despite being subject to criminal investigations or reportedly making payouts to victims, the publication notes.
“As developed countries find it tougher to keep predator priests on the job, bishops are increasingly moving them to the developing world where there’s less vigorous law enforcement, less independent media and a greater power differential between priests and parishioners,” David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told GlobalPost.
At least three of the priests mentioned by GlobalPost served in U.S. parishes: Father Carlos Urrutigoity in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Father Francisco “Fredy” Montero in Minneapolis and Paul Madden in Jackson, Mississippi.
A former priest from Belgium, Jan Van Dael, is under investigation in his home country. The 76-year-old founded an orphanage in Brazil, where he is also under investigation by federal authorities, according to sources for GlobalPost.
Asked about the GP report, a Vatican rep told The Huffington Post: "We have no comment on this story."
The pope has pledged to investigate failures to prevent and report clerical sex abuse aggressively. Earlier this summer, he approved a tribunal to punish bishops who cover up priests accused of sexually abusing children. In June the Vatican ordered Jozef Wesolowski, a former Vatican envoy and archbishop accused of molesting boys in the Dominican Republic, to stand trial on abuse charges. The Vatican trial began in July but he died in August.
For Global Post's complete report, visit here.
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