Jesuit Sex Abuse Scandal In Bolivia Could Be Used To Repress The Church

One year after the Spanish newspaper El País published the report “Diary of a Pedophile Priest,” which recounted the sexual abuse of minors committed in Bolivia by the deceased Jesuit priest Alfonso Pedrajas, journalists from ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, went to the South American country to look into the political implications of the case, how the scandal has affected the Church’s image in Bolivia, and the response of the civil justice system.

Pedrajas, better known as “Padre Pica,” arrived in South America in the early 1960s as part of his formation process with the Jesuits. For 10 years he lived in Peru and Ecuador, where he allegedly committed his first abuses while still a seminarian, and in 1971 he settled permanently in Bolivia.

There the Society of Jesus appointed him assistant principal of the John XXIII Institute, a boarding school whose mission was to form the most prepared students in the country, with a special predilection for those immersed in poverty.

Three years later, Padre Pica would become the school’s principal, where he reportedly sexually abused more than 80 minors over a period of almost 30 years.

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