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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Chilean court orders Church to pay compensation to abuse survivors

A Chilean appeals court ruled in favour of three survivors of abuse by former priest Fernando Karadima and ordered the Catholic Church to pay damages.

In a decision announced on 27th March, the court ordered the Church to pay 100 million pesos (£3,962,000) for “moral damages” to each of the survivors: Juan Carlos Cruz, Jose Andres Murillo and James Hamilton.

According the ruling, the appeals court said that “the omissions and the errors of the leadership of the Catholic Church” in Chile proved the Church had been “negligent in its conduct in terms that can be qualified as a cover-up that gave way to the configuration of a civil offence.”

Known as an influential and charismatic priest, then-Fr Karadima founded a Catholic Action group in a wealthy Santiago parish and drew hundreds of young men to the priesthood.

However, several former seminarians from the parish revealed in 2010 that the former Chilean priest sexually abused them and other members of the parish community for years. One year later, Karadima was sentenced by the Vatican to a life of prayer and penance after he was found guilty of sexual abuse.

Pope Francis expelled Karadima from the priesthood in late September.

Picture: Three victims of clergy sexual abuse in Chile, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo, attend a news conference in Rome on 2nd May 2018. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters).