Chile--Controversial Chilean cleric is quietly sent away

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 4

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

Catholic officials have quietly sent to another country a priest who admits facilitating illegal adoptions. Shame on them.   

Fr. Alex Vigueras of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order has moved Fr. Gerardo Joannon to a house for priests in the city of Merlo, Argentina, according to CNN.

“Chilean authorities said Joannon is only one of many priests, nuns, doctors, nurses and others who conspired to carry out illegal adoptions” as recently as 1990, CNN also reports.

Adding insult to injury, Catholic officials refused to explain or discuss their irresponsible move.

This is why clerics continue to commit and conceal crimes in the church: because they’re almost never disciplined by their supervisors or denounced by their colleagues. Usually, they’re just quietly moved, no matter how harmful or recent or illegal their crimes may be.

Instead of quietly protecting their colleagues, Catholic officials should be begging anyone with information about Fr. Joannon’s crimes to contact law enforcement. It’s always possible that a criminal who has so far evaded the law might still be prosecution. It’s likely that Fr. Joannon has committed more recent offenses for which he could still be charged. That’s why Catholic officials should prod parishioners and others to step forward if they saw, suspected or suffered wrongdoing by Fr. Joannon or other priests.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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

Contact – Juan Carlos Cruz (312-420-4301, [email protected]), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])   

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