The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Chilean priest can face child sex trial; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
We are thrilled that Fr. Karadima has been deemed fit to stand trial. All too often, shrewd and dangerous predators manage to convince others that they’re frail or impaired and escape consequences for their horrific crimes.
Let’s hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered this priest’s crimes will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Chilean Priest Karadima Fit To Stand Trial For Sex Abuse
Written by Mark Briggs and Ignacio Gallegos -
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 06:49
Psychological testing by the government’s legal medical service (SML) has determined that the priest Fernando Karadima, 80, is fit to stand trial on charges of sexually abusing underage boys during the 1980s.
Due to the defendant’s age, there were concerns that the trial could collapse once underway if the defense claimed he was unfit to participate in his defense.
His lawyers had previously supported the psychological tests but had also spoken to the judge concerning their client’s physical health.
According to the SML’s report to the judge late last week, Karadima “understands reality” and has no psychological diseases that would diminish his responsibility before the law.
Previous attempts to bring Karadima to trial have failed for a variety of reasons, and prosecutors are determined to ensure nothing gets in the way this time.
The priest, who was the pastor at El Bosque Church in the upmarket Providencia area of Santiago, has already been found guilty in a Vatican investigation. He has twice before appeared before a judge in Chile, pleading not guilty on both occasions.
An article by Cipher, the Chilean center for investigative journalism, claims that tests conducted on Karadima suggest homosexual tendencies as well as a thirst for power.
The same article quotes former seminarians saying the priest deliberately isolated them from their families and presented himself as a messianic figure.
One former pupil is quoted as saying leaving the circle of Karadima’s control was like emerging from “The Matrix,” a reference to the Keanu Reeves film in which humanity is enslaved in a dream state.
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, archbishop of Santiago at the time when the allegations first came to light, made public apology to the Karadima’s victims on Sunday. Released in the national daily El Mercurio, the open letter said in part, “For all the suffering that I unwillingly caused, I sincerely apologize.”
Admitting he first received the accusations in 2003, the cardinal said he hadn’t acted at the time because he didn’t believe them.
James Hamilton, one of five men who claimed to have been abused by Karadima, called Errázuriz “a criminal” on national television, saying, “He did nothing to stop what was happening.” (ST, March 22)
It is unclear what role Errázuriz will play in the upcoming trial. “I am a citizen of Chile and (prosecutor Jéssica González) can ask for my testimony, or anything she wants,” the cardinal said. “What I can give her, that's another story, because I have no papers or documents, and some things I forget.”
SOURCES: EL MERCURIO, LA TERCERA, CIPHER
Copyright 2011 – The Santiago Times
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests