Chilean police raid bishops over sex abuse allegations

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean authorities on Friday, July 13 seized documents and computers in raids targeting the Catholic church in the cities of Temuco and Villarrica amid a pedophilia scandal that has gripped the country, judicial sources said.

Local media reported the investigation began on June 19 following allegations of sexual abuse against 5 clergy members.

The operations took place after the bishops of those cities refused to hand over information requested by prosecutors.

The raids came after prominent Chilean Catholic priest Oscar Munoz, who was vice-chancellor and then chancellor in the archdiocese of Santiago, was detained Thursday, July 12 over allegations that he sexually abused and raped seven children between 2002 and 2018.

Munoz, 56, faces a 15 year prison sentence for the alleged abuse, which took place from 2002 in the capital Santiago and the southern city of Rancagua.

He was placed in preventative detention on Friday.

The Chilean church has been hit by pedophilia scandals implicating dozens of priests. Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of five bishops, four of whom were accused of turning a blind eye to abuse or covering it up. –