May 21, 2005

Vatican Says Mexican Priest Will Not Face Abuse Trial

The New York Times

Published: May 22, 2005

ROME, May 21 - The founder of an influential Roman Catholic order in Mexico will not face a church trial on longstanding allegations that he molested teenagers, a Vatican spokesman said on Saturday.

In December, the Vatican opened a full-scale investigation into the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the 85-year-old founder of the Legionaries of Christ and a prominent religious figure in Mexico. At least eight people came forward in the late 1990's to accuse him of abusing them between 1943 and the early 1960's.

But on Saturday, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, the spokesman, said that no charges would be brought against Father Maciel. He did not say why the investigation was ended.

"There is no investigation now, and it is not foreseeable that there will be another investigation in the future," Father Ciro said by telephone.

The news seems likely to receive particular scrutiny since it is the first major sex abuse case - one of the most important issues facing the church in North America - decided under Pope Benedict XVI.

Before he became pope last month, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was responsible for overseeing investigations into priests accused of sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at May 21, 2005 08:23 PM