Protests in Bolivia against sex crimes perpetrated by priests

Protests in Bolivia against sex crimes perpetrated by priests


Hundreds demonstrated Thursday in Bolivia's three main cities against sex crimes perpetrated by Catholic priests against children, after recent revelations in cases dating back decades.< /strong> 

Protests took place in the evening in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, the most populous in the country, with cries of “justice, justice”.

“We will be hell for pedophiles,” proclaimed a sign in Cochabamba. “No, no, no, no I don't want to forgive rapists just because they wear a cassock,” chanted protesters in La Paz.

The Spanish newspaper “El Pais” had revealed at the end of April that the late priest Alfonso Pedrajas allegedly abused more than 80 minors in Bolivia from the beginning of the 1970s. The daily had access to the diary in digital form of the dead Spaniard in Bolivia in 2009, at the age of 66. In it, the Jesuit priest says “having hurt many people, too many” people, he writes. He also says he was protected by his superiors.

The priest had settled in the country in the early 1970s, working in several schools until a few months before his death. He allegedly committed most of his abuse at John XXIII School in Cochabamba. This boarding school welcomed children from disadvantaged backgrounds and rural areas.

Following these revelations, at least nine complaints were filed in Bolivia for acts perpetrated by priests, including Mr. Pedrajas and four other Spanish religious, Luis Maria Roma, Alejandro Mestre, Antonio Gausset and Jorge Vila Despujol, all of whom are now deceased.

The Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia (CEB), Giovani Arana, admitted Wednesday in a statement that the victims had “found a Church that remained deaf to their suffering,” instead of “giving them the protection and care they deserved.”