March 01, 2005

Ex-priest gets new hearing



A former Roman Catholic priest has sought political asylum in Canada after alleging he knew of sexual abuse against kids and the bilking of funds at his church in Peru. Alberto Luis Calderon Mendez, 26, fled to Toronto in June, 2003, claiming persecution on the grounds of his religion, opinion and membership in a particular social group. His refugee bid was nixed by an immigration board but successfully appealed last month to the Federal Court of Canada.

"He is an ex-priest of the Catholic Church, specifically the Order of St. Augustine," Justice Max Teitelbaum said.

Mendez claimed he witnessed his boss misappropriating funds and was told of children being abused by another priest at his church.

He testified he reported the allegations to the Vatican and his bosses and in February of 2001 was reassigned to a village in the jungle.

"His task was to distribute clothing," court heard. The job "made him a target for harassment by members of the Shining Path terrorist group."

Posted by kshaw at March 1, 2005 09:06 AM