Vatican to investigate bishop in Chile
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has decided to send the Vatican’s most respected sex crimes expert to Chile to investigate a bishop accused by victims of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.
The Vatican said Tuesday that Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna would travel to Chile “to listen to those who have expressed the desire to provide elements” about the case of Bishop Juan Barros.
The move marks the first known time the Vatican has begun a full-blown investigation into allegations of sex abuse cover-up, and it comes after Francis was harshly criticized for his defense of Barros.
Barros said in a statement Tuesday that he welcomed “with faith and joy” the pope’s decision to have Scicluna investigate and prayed that the process would uncover the truth. He has denied seeing any abuse or knowing of it.
Barros was a protege of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic and politically powerful priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican for sexually abusing minors in 2011.
A girl dries berries Tuesday near a paddy on the outskirts of Gauhati, India.