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Vatican sanctions abusive Chilean priest

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SAO PAULO, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Vatican has found an 80-year-old Chilean priest guilty of sexually abusing minors and ordered him isolated, a Brazilian archbishop announced.

Catholic Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati in Sao Paulo said in a statement Friday the Rev. Fernando Karadima was ordered to retire to an undisclosed location to repent in isolation, The New York Times reported.

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The Vatican decision said Karadima was sentenced to "lifelong prohibition from the public exercise of any ministerial act, particularly confession and the spiritual guidance of any category of persons."

The lawyer representing Karadima in the Vatican prosecution, Juan Pablo Bulnes, said Karadima maintained his innocence and would appeal the church's verdict.

At least four men accused the priest of abusing them when they were youths in his parish, the report said.

Criminal charges against Karadima were dismissed last year on lack of evidence, although an appeals court in Santiago is reviewing the case, the Times said.

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