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October 28th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Predators in plain sight: Priests accused of child abuse appear beyond the reach of law

Editor’s note: Gary Tuchman reports on allegedly abusive Catholic priests who are living, unsuspected, in communities across the country on CNN Presents, Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Gary Tuchman and Jessi Joseph, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - Former LAPD Detective Federico Sicard still remembers the Monday he arrived at a school to interview children who said a priest had molested them, even though the visit took place 23 years ago.

Sicard found four children at the school, Our Lady of Guadalupe in East L.A., who said they’d been abused by Nicolas Aguilar Rivera, a priest who’d recently arrived from Mexico.

But police never had a chance to interview Aguilar.

“We went to interview the priest and they told us he’s no longer here,” Sicard, who spent more than 20 years on the case, said in a recent interview. “He’s gone. He was taken to Mexico.”

Church officials said they found out about the alleged abuse on a Friday in early 1988 and met with Aguilar the next day to remove him from ministry.

According to a police report, Aguilar told church officials at that meeting that he planned to return to his native Mexico at the beginning of the following week.

The police were notified on Monday morning, but it was too late. Aguilar had already fled the United States for Mexico.

“We made a call to child protective services. Nobody was answering the phone. It was 5 o’clock on a Friday,” said Tod Tamberg, the spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

“Monday morning the call was made – a notification was made – and Aguilar Rivera, during the weekend, fled without telling anybody, to Mexico,” Tamberg said.

Sicard said if the police had been notified earlier, Aguilar would have been detained.

After Aguilar fled, more reports of his alleged abuse surfaced. The Los Angeles District Attorney later filed a warrant for his arrest, charging Aguilar with molesting 10 children.

Aguilar is still wanted in Los Angeles for 19 felony counts of lewd acts against a child.

He had been in the U.S. for only nine months.

“We’d love to know where he is, we really would,” Tamberg said. “I mean, the letters demanding his return don’t expire. We’d like him to come back and face justice.”

Aguilar is one of hundreds of former Catholic priests who have faced sex abuse allegations and who now live unmonitored in unsuspecting communities.

For decades, accused priests who were kicked out of the church for allegations of abuse blended back into society. No one keeps track of where they live.

“Unfortunately, they’ve never been convicted,” said Tamberg. “They’re private citizens and so they’re free to move about and live where they want to.”

Nearly 6,000 priests have been accused of molesting children in the United States since the 1950s, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Very few of the accused ever make it to a criminal trial, often because by the time the victims come forward the statute of limitations for the crime has passed. At that point, even if a priest admits to the abuse, he cannot go to jail.

CNN has learned that Aguilar allegedly continued his abuse of children after fleeing to Mexico.

In 1992, four years after leaving the U.S., Aguilar surfaced in Mexico City. Still a priest, he was assigned to the church, Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, where he met Joaquin Mendez.

“I met him being an altar boy,” said Mendez, 30, who remembered him vividly. He said Aguilar became a close friend of his family.

“Honestly, his presence made me feel uncomfortable. His breath smelled really bad. It was a disgusting smell. Even now I feel the scars of those memories,” said Mendez.

Mendez was 13 years old when, he said, Aguilar called him into his bedroom at the church.

“He said, ‘Come on in. Let me show you some music tapes I made.’ So I go in and then he forced me to pull down my pants. He raped me,” Mendez said.

“I got away from him however I could,” Mendez continued. “He threatened me not to say anything to my family because if I did he was going to do the same thing to my brother.”

But Mendez found the courage to come forward. He said he told his parents and they went to the police.

Aguilar left Mexico City in 1995. Over the next 10 years he continued working as a priest in small towns in the Mexican state of Puebla.

Five formal complaints have been filed against Aguilar in Mexico since his return from Los Angeles. Aguilar is still wanted in Puebla for statutory rape, but authorities there say they’ve lost his trail.

CNN recently received a tip that Aguilar had been seen in Jonacatapec, a small farming town in the Mexican state of Morelos, about two hours south of Mexico City.

Emiliano, a Jonacatapec farmer, told CNN he had seen Aguilar twice. He said he recognized Aguilar from the news. Emiliano took CNN journalists to a bus stop outside of town, the last place he had seen Aguilar.

At the bus stop, a woman told CNN she rides the bus with Aguilar. “I saw him on the bus and he said I should take care of my baby,” she said. “That was all.” She had no idea about his past but agreed to show us where she believed Aguilar lived.

Once in the neighborhood, CNN was unable to find anyone else who knew Aguilar.

Sanjuana Martinez is a Mexican journalist who has written a book about Aguilar. She has also interviewed the priest himself.

“I said I can’t believe it that he’s talking with me,” Martinez said.

In a phone interview with Martinez, Aguilar repeatedly denied the allegations, including the charges made by Mendez.

“All of this has been a series of defamation, slanders,” Aguilar told her. “That is what all of this has been.”

Martinez said she believes it is unlikely Aguilar will ever be arrested in Mexico.

The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Hugo Valdemar, said the church has no further responsibility for Aguilar.

He said the church disputes the claim of rape by Mendez but acknowledged that Aguilar may be guilty of other abuse.

“I’m not saying he may not have done things, because we have the impression that he did,” Valdemar said. “The church has done what needed to be done. It suspended Nicolas Aguilar. He is no longer a priest.”

But church officials in Mexico did not defrock Aguilar until 2009, years after they knew about the alleged abuse. Valdemar said that it’s not the church’s job to hunt down suspects: ”This is a job for the police.”

Tony De Marco is a Los Angeles attorney that represents Joaquin Mendez and others who say they were abused by Aguilar. “There is no desire on the part of the church here to see that he be prosecuted and put in jail,” De Marco said.

De Marco said he would like to see the same policy changes in Mexico regarding victims of clergy sexual abuse that have been made in the U.S.

“You’ve seen things like zero-tolerance policies, you’ve seen compensation to victims, you’ve seen prosecutions of priests and most recently - finally - prosecution of those who facilitated and helped these men ... continue to molest kids,” said De Marco. “Change can happen. That’s my client’s belief and that’s my belief.”

But for now, Aguilar, and hundreds of other accused priests throughout the U.S. appear to remain beyond the reach of the law.

– CNN’s Luisa Calad, Valeria Longhi and special contributor Jesus Soria contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Mexico • Sex abuse

soundoff (545 Responses)
  1. Buzz Aldrin

    Remember my children, God exists invisibly in the clouds and loves you!

    Now bend over and spread your cheeks so your friendly neighborhood Priestman can get a little pre-pubescent action.

    November 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Now tell us about yourself, Buzz. How many marriages? Are you still beating your children? Are the hungry kids down the street still hungry while have money in the bank? Encourage any abourshions?

      November 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • chief

      spoken like a true catholic

      November 2, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • gerald

      But chiefy isn't this all about the children? If so then one who really cares about children cares about abuse and much more, i.e. do they have food, clothing, and shelter? Do you have more of these than you need chiefy? If so then u r a hippo crit.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • J'anna Thomas

      To raise awareness:

      IMPOTENCE

      He stood tall
      I faced the wall
      And beat white knuckled fist

      Cursed the will he'd made of steel
      Praying only to exist

      Choices made–to fight or cave
      I've withstood it everytime
      Insanity is always free
      But hope just costs a dime

      That's his facade
      In the name of God
      But this is my damn wall
      I've smeared it with my blood and sweat
      Everytime the Alter Calls

      If tears could tell–he'd know me well
      He'd shed a few in His Saunder-Bye
      When all's been said-the wall's been fed
      He'll never see me cry

      November 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... a true priest spoken..... the comment and the article about abused kids and you bring food and shelter.... i guess its the catholic way to abuse kids and then confess and its ok..... must be the way all your type defend it

      November 3, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • gerald

      Haven't defended a priest ped yet Chief. Where do you get that unless you think all are peds. Of course then you would only be showing your bigotry toward priests which you do anyway by calling me one (not that I think it would be at all bad to be a priest but you say it in a derogatory way). Do you think God likes bigotry Chief? Careful, don't committ blasphemy. So you bear false witness again.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... as all the read your posts... know you are an apologist for the catholic church and the ped preists it has protected over the years..... i dont give a damn how much good you do when you allow the abuses to happen by denial.... its like saying certain dictators are ok becasue they give candy to kids while mutilating their parents.... its just the opposite you allow

      November 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • gerald

      More accusations. I don't give a damn about what you don't give a damn about. I don't know what you expect me to do. You pay taxes and there are still police and teachers molesting children so what's your point.

      November 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  2. catholic engineer

    The Bible does not claim to be the word of God, let alone the sole word of God. Sola Sciptura, like Sola Fide, is a doctrine of men. 1 Timothy 3:15 says that the CHURCH is the pillar and foundation of the truth. It's nice that Evangelicals read the Bible, but they have no authority whatsoever to interpret it. That is solely the priveledge of the church that is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
    Further, in John's gospel, Jesus prayed that all those whom the Father has given him will remain one. Only one group has lived up to this – catholics. Since Evangelicals demonstrate no unity, may we assume they were not given to Jesus by the Father?

    November 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • chief

      typical catholic apologist.... divert to evangelicals.... oh no divisions in the catholic church..... south america? voodoo integration.... ireland not liking peds..... 80% of catholics dont believe what the church says according to chruch.... and morons like you twisting the truth to meet the needs of your arguement? you guys are pathetic....

      November 2, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • chief

      if you were ever taught it.... ( and you werent becasue you dont learn anything exept the church doctrine..... to attribute something to God that isnt, is blasphemy..... thats the hebrew... so quoting scripture and masking it to the catholic church is blasphemy..... hell trains getting full with catholics....

      November 2, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • gerald

      So chiefy everything you say is the gospel truth? Are you sure your judgement of Catholics is correct???? Hmmmmm. If your not then you are attributing something to God that is not of him. i.e. by your own words blasphemy. :). Is sola scriptura true or not? If not then it is blasphemy right? Or is it just your anti-catholic views that say that only Catholics committ blasphemy? Me thinks u r a hippo crit.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... hey priest, when i studied greek and hebrew ( which is what "the scriptures" were written in ) sola scriptura wasnt there..... oh yeah, its latin i guess.... the same bunch of heretics made that up as that mary is the mother of God....

      November 3, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • gerald

      So you agree with CE but you have to bash him anyway. All he was saying is Sola Scriptura isn't in the Bible. Can't agree with a Catholic, Gosh no, they are sub-human.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • J.W

      Why do they not have authority to interpret scripture. I think that everyone should read and interpret scripture. You should not rely on church leaders to do that for you.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • gerald

      J.W. who is they? If it is Catholics we can in fact read scripture and are very much encouraged to do so. It's an old wives tale that we are not allowed to. I have belonged to many lay Bible study groups organized by the parish over the years. Every bulletin has daily readings for the week. If you go to the USCCB website you will find the daily readings for Catholics to read. As for past times, popes have encouraged bible reading at least since the reformation. Before that time or at least the time of the printing press people couldn't read anyway.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald... all catholic i know are encouraged to believe what the church leaders tell them to believe and not to question.... they are also told that the catholic church is the authority.... they also tell people that the pope is the vicar or voice of Christ on earth .... they are also told that mary is the mother of God.... blasphemy at it highest

      November 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • J.W

      gerald catholic engineer said "It's nice that Evangelicals read the Bible, but they have no authority whatsoever to interpret it. That is solely the priveledge of the church that is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic."

      November 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • gerald

      Chiefy – Elizabeth said "how is it that the MOTHER OF MY LORD should come to me?". Now was/is Jesus Lord because he was man or God? Pretty clear to me. So it would seem she was saying "Mother of my GOD!". Now I don't know how you get around this but I am sure you will find a way to subvert the plain word of God.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • gerald

      J.W. Everyone interprets the Bible of course when they read it and again the CC is not against reading it at all. But the fact is that authentic interpretation in mind with the spirit of God only comes from God and such authority has only been granted to the CC. Thus protestantism ends up being full of errors and thinking that Catholicism is full of errors. Pride in ones own interpretation takes over.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • geraldh

      I see chief won't deal with my last comment regarding Mary as the Mother of God? Was Elizabeth wrong in the Bible when the Holy Spirit spoke through her chief? It's plain as day chief.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • tulipz

      Catholic Engineer, sorry, but the lies you've been fed by your religion are just that .... lies. The Bible does, in fact, say that it's the word of God. "The Church", i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, is simply a hierarchical system based on power and control.

      November 29, 2011 at 5:43 am |
    • tulipz

      I was raised Catholic, much of my family is Catholic, and I worked for a major Catholic organization. It was my work experience that shed light on the truth of the religion .... nothing Christlike about it. Nothing.

      So many Catholic priests aren't filled with God's spirit and don't really have a relationship with Jesus. I've talked with so many of them who feel empty. And these are the good guys . ... not the pedophiles, etc. I've also talked with many who feel uncomfortable that they are elevated above others by the RCC. These men know they're equal with others and in no way "above" them spiritually, yet their religion elevates them in this way.

      Ya know, the Bible indicates that we are all equal. We are all sinners. We are all fallen. We are not to worship men (priests), nor are we to worship other false idols, including statues. Jesus said that he is the light and the truth and the way. Period. Catholics need to stop giving flowers to "Mary", i.e. Mary statues. Put your focus on Jesus and try to be Christlike, rather than striving to be obedient to men and religion. Being obedient to those things is totally different than being humble and obeying God.

      November 29, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  3. chief

    i love it when cnn post these gloves off articels and those pedaphile apologists like catholicclown and gerald the priest have to remain in the confessional...... doing what ever they do there... or putting statues of saints in peoples yards so their house will sell.... or scaring old people and idiots into paying penance for the dead.... hell train is getting more full every day

    November 1, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • dixiejon

      distressing religious artifacts is a Santeria practice and has nothing to do with catholicism.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • gerald

      Chiefy doesn't have a clue what Catholicism is. He bears false witness at will on these thread and then condemns Catholics for their sins. Thou shalt not bear false witness chiefy. It's a command of God and you violate it without even thinking.

      November 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald... putting statues of saints in peoples yards so their house will sell.... or scaring old people and idiots into paying penance for the dead..... praying to the dead..... exclusion of non catholics..... the belief that the catholic church is the only church .... an organization that harbors peds .... your right i counld be wrong, but im not

      November 3, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  4. Mr. Widemouth

    Have No Fear of God? http://www.squidoo.com/fear-of-god

    October 31, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Nope, none whatsoever. It's the christians that scare me.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  5. Love Christ

    So many stones being tossed. I bet if the priest were allowed to tell the police about certain confessions most would be in jail. These monsters were wolves in Sheeps clothing. May they ask for forgiveness and God have Mercy on them. You all will be held accountable for how you mock the Lord. Keep on your foolish ways of righteousness and you will see the Lord sooner than you can imagine. God loves so much and we abuse His gifts. Don't you know that the Church was built upon cowards and sinful men? Don't you know all men are sinful? The Church is protected by the Holy Spirit and actions of men will not destroy. It will be reverse we destroy ourselves. Haven't you been paying attention of the tribulations happening everyday. Earthquake after earthquake, storm after storm, killing after killing.

    God have MERCY on us!

    October 31, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "Don't you know that the Church was built upon cowards and sinful men? Don't you know all men are sinful?"

      Dont you know that the bible was written by MEN?

      October 31, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Love Christ

      You are right written by man as spoken by God, because we are His servants. God does not write He speaks and we listen.
      Don't you know what happens when you speak against the Holy Spirit?

      October 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Ed

      the fact that many have sinned and confessed is irrelevant. Priest should not be above the law. If the molest children they should be defrocked excommunicated and imprisoned.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Love Christ

      Well why don't we all turn ourselves after our confession. But we would rather point the finger. Unless your ready to man up on your faults don't pass judgment against another. I believe Jesus called that hipocrisy.

      October 31, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "You are right written by man as spoken by God, because we are His servants."

      yeah according to MAN.

      November 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "Don't you know what happens when you speak against the Holy Spirit?"

      please enlighten me with you terror stories and going to hell. fear mongering might work on a 5 year old, but not a 25 year old with a brain that thinks for themself

      November 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • claybigsby

      and actually the bible was written by 30+ MEN over 1500+ years. The people who wrote about your jebus never knew him, never talked to him, never saw him. Those stories were written 30-50 years after his death.

      And your argument that man was writing down what was spoken to them by god is farce. That is all according to MEN. So if you are going to believe what MAN tells you about them being inspired by god, go right ahead. I still hold my opinion that you are a idiot for believing what men tell you. BRAINWASHED.

      November 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • The Other Guy

      I personally don't believe God wrote the Bible, but I am a Jew, so I guess I'm going to hell then...

      November 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Andrew

      Somebody get rid of the church please. Everything they do can be done by secular means, and then these asswholes harbor criminals, retard science, contribute to the spread of HIV in Africa. I mean, seriously, why do people even support the church? Wanna do good- do it yourself, stop contributing to these criminal charlatans.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  6. RightTurnClyde

    You did not read the article .. he did not move from church to church .. he went to Mexico and he has a Mexican surname. That automatically gives him asylum in Mexico (and they all know it) You can get in to Mexico across the same open border that is violated to come here

    October 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • chief

      In 1992, four years after leaving the U.S., Aguilar surfaced in Mexico City. Still a priest, he was assigned to the church, Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, where he met Joaquin Mendez.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  7. RightTurnClyde

    Well hardly a Roman Catholic thing ... thousands of criminals go to Mexico to avoid prosec.u.t.i.o.n. They even have mad-dashes to the border. Child support, burglary, r.a.p.e., murder .. AND more than half of the California prison inmates are "illegals" - so figure that. Preseedent O. cares not. (I suppose his followers care not...he IS the messiah you know). Mexico will NOT return criminals for trial

    October 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      my own opinion is that pedophilia is not as widespread as it seems BUT they keep covering it up (like Nixon) and that makes it seem bigger than it really is. my opinion is that the problems in the RC run much deeper and much worse (malevolent) but harder to dig out. It is not a God-serving organization. It is "bad" to the core.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  8. Click

    I guess I'll deal with the elephant in the room. He's mexican? hah. Just kidding. Well he is. But that isn't the elephant.

    October 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  9. J.W

    This is bad.

    October 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  10. CM

    Pittsburgh Pa .... District Attorney Steven Zapalla stopped the process of letting people know that a abusive priest was living next to a daycare ! A DA protecting pedophiles only in Pittsbugh !

    October 31, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      he knew how to get elected and to stay elected right? it's good to have a big church supporting you. Catholic, Jewish, Baptist .. all of them get their own elected and exercise power in government

      October 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  11. MICHAEL CIALONE

    WHEN IS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH GOING TO ADMIT THAT IT NEEDS A THOROUGH EVANGELICAL REFORMATION ? THE MAIN PROBLEM IN THE RC CHURCH IS THAT IT DOES NOT TELL ITS CLERGY AND LAITY THAT THE BIBLE IS THE SOLE AUTHORITY IN REGARDS TO FAITH AND MORALS. THERE HAVE BEEN TOO MANY CONTRARY VOICES IN THE RC SEMINARY SYSTEM THAT HAVE MISLED MANY SEMINARIANS AND MEMBERS OF RELIGIOUS ORDERS, MORAL THEOLOGIANS, AND OTHER AUTHORITIES TEACHING OPINIONS CONTRARY TO THE HOLY SCRIPTURES AND EVEN CONTRADICTING ORTHODOX CHRISTAIN ETHICAL DOCTRINES. I SAW THE HANDWRITTING ON THE WALL BACK IN THE 1970'S, PROPHET JEREMIAH WAS CORRECT ABOUT THE FALSE SHEPHERDS. POPE BENEDICT NEEDS TO PROCLAIM TO HIS CHURCH THAT THOROUGH BIBLE STUDY IS NEEDED AMONGST HIS PEOPLE. POPE BENEDICT AND EVEN POPE JOHN PAUL HAD A HIGH REGARD FOR FR. MARTIN LUTHER, LEADER OF THE LUTHERAN REFORM MOVEMENT -16TH CENTURY.

    October 31, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      that is a hands off topic .. I just had my previous post erased for even talking about it .. the (you know which) church has been a mess (doctrinally, organization, practices) since before England became on country .. Arthurian England .. Gothic Rome .. and it continued to get worse every year .. every day .. nobody can challenge them..

      October 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • O.S. Bird

      Turn down the volume.

      November 1, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • dixiejon

      your hero Luther was an anti-semite of biblical (haha) proportions. He started the reformation so he could seduce and marry a nun. his religious beliefs, transubstantiation etc were identical to RC

      November 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    1. In 1962, The Vatican relased the 'Crimen Sollicitationis', which outlined how the church is to handle accusations of se.xual impropriety against clergy.
    The stickiest point for most people is that not only was the doc.ument itself Top Secret for decades, it explictly stated that anybody involved in this type of investigation, including the accuser and potential witnesses, are sworn to secrecy regarding any and all details, upon penalty of excommunication (a fate worse than death for the devout).
    This preoccupation with secrecy significantly slowed the investigative process – the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against se.xually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to get a reply.
    According to the John Jay report, 918 of 1872 (49%) substantiated allegations of abuse against Catholic clergy were addressed by sending the priest off for psychiatric counseling and then moving him to another parish, with nary a whisper to law enforcement. This number does not include priests relocated for reasons other than charges of se.xual impropriety.
    The Irish Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse from 2009 came to the conclusion that ""the Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child se.xual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its as.sets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities."
    In summation: The Roman Catholic Church is guilty of criminal conspiracy. Until the Pope publically and unequivocally states that all allegations of abuse will immediately be referred to local law enforcement, the RCC will be viewed as an evil, predatory inst.itution by a large portion of the world.

    Jose Barba Martin of Mexico tried for years to have his accusations against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ heard by the congregation. In the end, it took eight years for Rome to discipline the Rev Marcial Maciel, and require him to live a life of reserved prayer. Maciel died in 2008 before the Legionaries admitted he had fathered at least one child and molested young seminarians.
    A letter written by a now-dead Canadian bishop shows church officials knew of se.xual abuse allegations involving a priest before his promotion to a top Vatican post and then discussed with Vatican officials how to keep the scandal from becoming public.
    There is also Catholic priest who was defrocked after a nun accused him of rap.ing three children in Bolivia who has been living with his family in Uruguay for more than a year – with the full knowledge of Uruguayan church officials – despite an Interpol warrant for his arrest.

    October 31, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  13. Reality

    Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?
    "
    FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP!!!

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

    October 31, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  14. bigwilliestyles

    Is this true? The age of consent in the Vatican City is 12? Twelve? XII? THE AGE OF CONSENT IS 12? I don't know if this is true, but if it is, it validates my belief that the Catholic church is a disease ridden fraud of an organization. 12 years old, the perfect age for pe_di_philia. Disgusting if its true.

    October 31, 2011 at 4:22 am |
    • Nope

      The age of consent in Vatican City is 14... the same as Italy.

      Also the same as Germany, Austria, Portugal, Bulgaria, Hungary and quite a few other European countries.

      October 31, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • kimsland

      Vatican City covers some 44 hectares. It approximately has 572 citizens and 221 foreign national residents.
      This is basically tiny town

      October 31, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • Buzz Aldrin

      Your invisible buddy in the sky allows criminals to perpetrate unspeakable acts on defenseless children.

      Doesn't seem like any being worth worshiping to me.

      Good thing he's nothing but make-believe.

      Oh and bend over and spread your cheeks so your favorite bishop can get some good old fashioned bible buggering in.

      November 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  15. Kyle Christopher

    The tarnished reputation of Catholics is well deserved. I wrote a piece last week highlighting a true story about the priests at my former church. It's a little too long to relay here, but if you are interested in reading it the address is:

    http://cheapthinker.blogspot.com/2011/10/day-of-devil.html

    It involves booze and escorts.

    October 31, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Frankly I see nothing immoral in drinking booze or hiring escorts – priests are just humans, like everyone else. The problem with the RCC is the endemic cover-up of pedophilia that has certainly gone on for decades (and likely, centuries), and their idiotically dogmatic stance against contraception and modern science.

      That they are about to beatify JP2, who certainly knew and abetted these disgusting practices, as well as raising this new pope who is also complicit in these crimes against humanity, is more than enough of an indictment against the organization.

      And of course I think any adult human who believes in magic is a misguided fool, but it's not a crime to be a fool in this world, or I'd be locked up myself.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  16. Reality

    From p. 1:

    The "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the elimination of all religions as we know them. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

    October 30, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • clay

      Reality, what country do you live in? Because I live in the United States, where we've always claimed to believe in freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Atheists constantly use the point that religions are intolerant against each other, even to the point of waging war, to claim their above religion. And yet you make me ask: Are you any better?
      And a word of advice: Give up, you'll never uproot religions that have been around for thousands of years.

      October 31, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • claybigsby

      "Give up, you'll never uproot religions that have been around for thousands of years."

      This is exactly what christians want free thinkers to do....give up. Not gonna happen. Keep holding onto that bronze aged folklore. people who see through your farce of a religion will continue to call you stupid and brainwashed, cuz you are.

      November 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      "Are you any better?"

      Better? Hard to quantify. More informed and less ignorant and hateful? Definitely. Atheists don't go around killing people in the name of evolution. And before you trot out the hackneyed "Stalin, Hitler, Mao" argument, Stalin and Mao killed for political power and Hitler was a Christian in control of a Christian nation.

      Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism are all going the way of every other religion that has ever existed in this world. They're dying a slow death to the ever encroaching tide of secular humanism, scientific reason and rational thought.

      Thank god for that.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  17. jebb

    i am thinking of rob-bing a few banks, ki-lling some sc-umbags,ra-ping a few women
    but i need a place to hide out after i do!
    aha~!
    i will go and become a priest
    the police will never find me!
    the perfect crimes with the perfect hiding place!
    the pope will deny he knows who i am and where i am
    but he will move me from church to church while hiding me from the police
    amen!

    October 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Guest

      As idiotic as your comments have been, you just get more stupid each time.

      October 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  18. elvis costanza

    This clearly meets the standard of criminal conspiracy, international in scope. Interpol should get involved.

    October 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  19. jebb

    largest landowner in the world?
    who hasnt paid a penny for any of it?
    who doesnt pay taxes?
    who gets to abuse kids and avoid prosecution?
    the pope is a nazi loving child abusing freak!

    October 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  20. PastorFufu

    This Mexican priest should just bend over and profess his love for Jesus – heaven is guaranteed for him if he believes in Jesus. What's there to worry about?

    October 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.