Pope Francis expels Chilean priest accused of sexual abuse

Pope Francis expelled Chilean priest Father Cristián Precht Bañados "with no possibility of appeal" as he was under investigation for sexually abusing minors and vulnerable adults. Photo by Massimo Percossi/EPA

Sept. 16 (UPI) — Pope Francis expelled a Chilean priest who is under investigation for sexually abusing children, the he Archdiocese of Santiago said Sunday.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria notified the Chilean Church that Francis decreed the removal of Father Cristián Precht Bañados “with no possibility of appeal” on Sept. 12, the Archdiocese announced.

He had already been suspended from ministry from 2012-2017 after he was found guilty of sexually abusing minors and vulnerable adults.

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati chose to suspend Precht for five years instead of issuing a life sentence when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found him guilty of abuse in 2012.

When he returned to the ministry, Precht and Father Miguel Ortega faced new accusations from victims who said they sexually abused children while visiting Marist Brothers facilities, including making sexual advances toward teenagers who came to them for confession.

Precht was then banned from leaving the diocese until the new investigation ended, a ruling he unsuccessfully appealed.

He previously denied the charges, as Chilean police raid church offices in search of evidence church officials committed and concealed instances of sexual abuse.

Precht was the former head of the Church’s Vicariate of Solidarity human rights group and also served as regional vicar, head of youth ministry, and executive secretary of the commission for the canonization of Chilean St. Alberto Hurtado.


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