BOLIVIA- As part of its investigation into a pedophilia scandal that has shaken Bolivia, the Vatican has sent a diary of the late Jesuit priest Alfonso Pedrajas to the country. He was accused of abusing dozens of minors dating back as far as the 1970s.
In a statement released Thursday, the Society of Jesus of Bolivia said the diary was sent to them by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith — which handles clergy sexual abuse cases — and then handed over to the prosecutor’s office in the city of Cochabamba, where the alleged abuse occurred.
Despite only having published a few excerpts of Pedrajas’ diary, the Society of Jesus, as the Jesuits are known, said it would request a copy from the Spanish newspaper El Pas, which first reported on it in April. Between the 1970s and 1990s, Pedrajas allegedly admitted to abusing 85 minors, primarily in Cochabamba boarding schools.
One week after Pope Francis wrote to President Luis Arce expressing concern over allegations of sexual abuse committed by priests, the diary arrived in Bolivia. In response, he pledged to cooperate with the Bolivian justice system in its investigation into the allegations.
A few days after the Pedrajas case broke, Francis sent one of his top sex crimes investigators to Bolivia. In Chile and Paraguay, the Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu had previously led investigations into priest abuses.
During his two-day visit to Bolivia, Bertomeu did not make any public statements. In a statement, the Bolivian Church clarified that the visit was not linked to the pedophilia scandal, but had been planned in advance.
This probe has revealed new cases of sexual abuse, and one priest was sent to pre-trial detention for three months last month.
Currently, at least 12 judicial investigations have been opened against Bolivian clergy, including one that has already resulted in a 10-year prison sentence for a priest accused of rape.
Many of the victims who have been accused of abuse have already passed away.