Gerardo Silvestre Hernández and José Luis Chávez Botello The archbishop, left, and Silvestre: a cover-up?

Oaxaca archbishop accused of cover-up

Priest who raised accusations of abuse also admits to having a family

The Catholic Church in Oaxaca was accused yesterday of covering up sexual crimes by one of its priests and punishing others who raised the accusations.

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And one of the latter admitted that he — along with “the majority of priests in Oaxaca” — has a family.

Apolonio Merino Hernández made the admission after a press conference held by the Oaxaca Children’s Forum and various priests and activists, where the archbishop of Oaxaca was accused of covering up sexual abuse by Gerardo Silvestre Hernández.

The conference was told that Merino was transferred to a distant and remote parish in the Mixteca as punishment for speaking out against Silvestre and on behalf of victims. Last August, he was suspended.

As many as 100 indigenous youngsters are believed to have been abused by Silvestre, beginning in 2006.

The priest was on a six-month internship in San Pablo Huitzo where he abused a nine-year-old boy, the conference was told, after which there were “more than 100 victims” in seven different parishes where Silvestre served.

Although the church has reportedly exonerated him, the state has not. He was jailed in 2013 after the state Attorney General accused him of corrupting minors in connection with the abuse of two boys in another indigenous community, Villa Alta.

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Silvestre remains in jail awaiting trial.

Speakers yesterday said church authorities in Oaxaca refused to meet with any of the victims, despite the efforts of Merino to have them do so.

They accused archbishop José Luis Chávez Botello of protecting Silvestre and covering up the case by not submitting all the evidence to the Vatican.

The meeting also heard from the mother of one victim, who read from a letter she has written to Pope Francis, asking for justice for the victims.

In a radio interview yesterday, Merino said it was hoped that Francis, who visits Mexico next month, will meet with those victims.

It was during the same interview that Merino admitted he had had a relationship with a woman and had fathered children with her. He estimated that 70% of the 124 priests who work in Oaxaca’s 112 parishes have families, contrary to the church’s dictate regarding celibacy.

Source: Milenio (sp), Excélsior (sp), EFE (en)

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  • James Smith

    As with abortion, sodomite marriage, etc., the attitude in Mexico has always been “we can’t let those damn gringos get ahead of us in any category and that includes immorality, vice, murdering infants, and sexual deviancy. ” Apparently that determination not to ever finish second to the hated Yanquis up north also extends to the Catholic bishops and priests in Mexico regarding their child pedophilia.

  • James Smith

    The Catholic Church priesthood is staffed with predatory homosexuals and pedophiles everywhere in the world and with their criminal accomplice-pimp bishops. Why should Mexico be any different?

    • Tim Lennon

      Vile pedophiles and sexual molesters abuse both boys and girls. Many vile predators abuse both, according the the Church’s own studies (John Jay Report). The criminal priest who raped and abused me had previously abused teenage girls then moved to younger and more vulnerable boys. Almost half of children raped and sexually abused by priests are girls.

  • Tim Lennon

    Tragically the church hierarchy is more interested in protecting themselves and their reputations, power and prestige, rather than protecting children. We have seen the same pattern of complicity in coverups by church officials in the USA, Ireland, Australia–everywhere. The pope has yet to remove a bishop or criticize a bishop who is complicit in covering up child rape and sexual abuse.

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