May 24, 2005

Vatican, religious order say sex abuse investigation is closed


Associated Press Writer

May 24, 2005, 1:39 AM EDT

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican said Monday there was no investigation under way of allegations that the Mexican founder of a conservative religious order sexually abused seminarians more than 30 years ago, and the Holy See had no plans to bring a church trial against the priest.

The Orange, Conn.-based Legionaries of Christ said Friday that the Vatican notified them a day earlier about the status of the case involving the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degallado. In the late 1990s, nine former seminarians alleged Maciel had abused them when they were young boys or teenagers in Roman Catholic seminaries in Spain and Italy. The alleged abuse occurred in the 1940s-1960s.

Maciel, 85, has denied the allegations and said his accusers plotted to defame him.

"There is no investigation under way and it is not foreseen that there will be one in the future," a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Monday.

Two of Maciel's alleged victims said Monday they had not been informed by the Vatican that the case was resolved. In Mexico, one accuser said closing the case would be "very damaging" to the Vatican's prestige, and he insisted he and others could prove the abuse.

Posted by kshaw at May 24, 2005 07:39 AM