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Victims of priest's abuse sue Chile church

  |   Nov. 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM
SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Three men who were abused by a Catholic priest in Chile decades ago say the church has given them no choice but to sue.

James Hamilton, Jose Andres Murillo and Juan Carlos Cruz filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese of Santiago Tuesday, the Santiago Times reported. They are seeking damages for the harm done by the Rev. Fernando Karadima and charge that the church knew there were allegations Karadima molested boys and did nothing about it.

The Vatican found in January 2011 that Karadima, who headed a Santiago parish from 1973 to 1990, had sexually abused children. He was removed from the priesthood and ordered to spend the rest of his life doing penance.

Prosecutors in Chile opened a case in 2010 but dropped it because of lack of evidence. The investigation was reopened in 2011 only to be closed again because Chile's 10-year limit on bringing child abuse charges starts running once an alleged victim turns 18.

Hamilton, Murillo and Cruz say the archdiocese, now headed by Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, has provided no spiritual or emotional support for them and no financial compensation.

"For about two years since the sentence, we have taken the initiative to approach the Church and we have received nothing but closed doors," Cruz said.

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