After more than a dozen victims accused members of the Catholic Church in Bolivia of sexual assault, Bolivian prosecutors are investigating 35 members of the church as a result, authorities said on Tuesday.
This declaration comes at a time when the nation is hurting from the revelations of abuse that were discovered in the personal diaries of a Spanish priest who had served in Bolivia for decades prior to his death in 2009. The priest passed away in Bolivia in 2009.
During a news conference, Daniela Caceres, the head of a department under the Office of the Bolivian Attorney General, stated that there are currently 35 people who have been accused and are being investigated.
She continued by saying, “We have 17 people who have been identified as victims, but out of respect for the victims and as a precaution for the protection of the victims, we are not going to give specific details.”
A revelation that was published in April by the Spanish newspaper El Pais about the deceased Spanish priest Alfonso Pedrajas led to the opening of an inquiry by the public prosecutors. The report claimed that Alfonso Pedrajas had sexually molested more than eighty youngsters in Bolivia, where he had lived since the early 1970s.
Pedrajas also mentioned in his journal that top clergy members were aware of his wrongdoing but chose to remain silent about it.
On Tuesday, prosecutors announced that they had received a copy of Pedrajas’ diary from the Society of Jesus in Bolivia. The diary was submitted to the prosecutors on Monday.
However, Caceres claimed that the diary was incomplete, claiming that certain pages were missing and that certain paragraphs had been marked out and erased.
She stated that Bolivian authorities will attempt to collect the entire document or will ask Spanish prosecutors for their assistance in the matter.
In a letter to Bolivian President Luis Arce, which was made public in the middle of June, Pope Francis expressed his “shame and dismay” at the sexual assault committed by the clerics and vowed to shed light on what really occurred.
It has been brought to the attention of the Vatican by the government of Arce that there is a pressing need to tighten entry restrictions in order to prevent priests with a history of sexual misconduct from entering the nation.
In addition, the Catholic Church has established four commissions with the purpose of receiving and investigating complaints.