Scandal in the Bolivian Church. I realized that my Jesuit uncle was a pedophile.

For years, he kept a diary in which he wrote about pedophilia. Spanish Jesuit Alfonso Pedragas admitted that his victims were at least 85 minors. The abused children lived in Bolivia, where Pedragas had run schools and cared for young priests for years. The Jesuit admitted in his memoirs that he reported the problem, but that his superiors did nothing. The clergy were supposed to cover it up.

They set fire to the statue of a priest and wrote the word “rapist” on one of the churches. Bolivians demand that clerics who have sexually abused vulnerable children for years be punished. – An institution that must protect us, constantly talking about family, unity and faith, covering the activities of pedophiles and rapists in its ranks. If you hide it, it means that it gives permission for such behavior – says Rosalia Villar, a resident of La Paz.

Bolivians are shocked after the publication of a diary in which a Spanish Jesuit – Alfonso Pedragas – confesses to having sexually abused children. Pedragas has lived in Bolivia for years. He was a mentor and guardian of young priests. He ran schools for marginalized communities. The Jesuit admits in his memoirs that at least 85 children were his victims. – I felt threatened. Father Pedragas discovered that I was trying to incite my colleagues. He called me. He was a psychologist, not an idiot. He knew how to manipulate people. He told me, “If you keep doing this, you have to deal with me and you won’t be back in school next year,” the victim recalled.

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“My silence is shameful”

Alfonso Pedragas – who is called Beca’s father – died of cancer in 2009. His nephew found the 383-page diary in the attic among the family’s belongings. The man reported the discovery, among other things, about the Jesuit Order, but communication with the congregation depended mainly on requests to share the diary with them. In the end, the man handed over the notes to the newspaper “El Pais”, which published the case. The first pages were beautiful. They contained letters to my great-grandmother, in which my uncle wrote enthusiastically of his desire to become a good priest. When I read more, I realized my uncle was a pedophile, says Fernando Pedragas, Alfonso Pedragas’ nephew.

In the diaries, Pedragas does not talk about the details of his sexual contacts with children. He describes them using euphemisms. Mentions “errors”, “sins”, “illness”. The Jesuit, who kept a diary for 48 years, claims he spoke to his superiors about the misdeeds he was doing and asked for help, but they did nothing. “The law will be hard on me (imprisonment, exile, expulsion). The weight of all my wrongs weighs on me. Yes, I am guilty. I have no words before God. My silence is dishonorable, it is guilt, pure misery. (…) Harm “- reads part of Notes. February 21, 1998.

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veiled scandal

Dozens of Bolivian and Spanish clerics were supposed to cover up his crimes and ignore the complaints of the victims. The Jesuit claims he was told by a priest that he “shouldn’t play with luck.” “Instead of providing the protection and care that the faithful deserve, the Church has been shown to be deaf to suffering,” said Giovanni Arana, Secretary General of the Bolivia Conference of Bishops.

The publication of the diary put several clergymen out of business. Pope Francis has sent one of Bolivia’s most experienced sex-crime investigators. The case is being investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is considering extending the investigation to the entire Bolivian Church. We did two raids. One for the school and one for the chorea in La Paz. We have seized documents that will help us in our investigation – confirms Daniela Caceres of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in La Paz. Since the revelation of the scandal involving the Jesuit, about 200 people have come forward to the Bolivian authorities alleging that they were abused by priests as children.

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Main image source: Reuters

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