The father of one of the children in the eight documented cases of pedophilia committed by a priest in Oaxaca has spoken out about the forgotten victims of the crime: the relatives of the abused child.
Pedro Mendoza, whose son was allegedly a victim of Catholic priest Gerardo Silvestre, says he and his wife suffered along with their son when the crime was uncovered.
“The suffering continues, and now includes our other children. It is a chain, and sadly the seed planted by the sexual abuse has taken root,” he said.
His son, who now lives in the State of México with his mother and siblings, has “given in to a life of vice and crime,” he told the newspaper El Universal.
Silvestre allegedly abused over 40 youths over a decade ago in mountainous indigenous communities in the state of Oaxaca. Of those cases, only eight have been documented. Witness reports said Silvestre’s modus operandi was to invite the boys into the parish house, where he got them drunk before sexually abusing them.
Mendoza’s official accusation against the priest, filed in 2012, was the first received by the authorities, but the Catholic church had had knowledge of the priest’s crimes since 2009 when another priest, Manuel Arias, informed the archbishop of Oaxaca, José Luis Chávez Botello, about what was happening.
Chávez has been since accused of protecting Silvestre and covering up the case by not submitting all the evidence to the Vatican.
Silvestre has spent the last four years behind bars but some fear that he might soon walk free given the upcoming change of government in Oaxaca, coupled with a “complicit judicial system” which has failed to reach a ruling in the case.
Those fears were recently voiced by journalist and filmmaker Diego Osorno in a special presentation of a documentary that narrates the ordeal of the priest’s victims.
Entitled Silvestre, pederastia clerical en Oaxaca (Silvestre, clerical pedophilia in Oaxaca), the film also highlights the protection extended to the accused by church authorities. Despite this, said Osorno, “a female team from the Attorney General’s office managed to get him behind bars.”
All their work could be for nought, continued the filmmaker, as the High Court of Justice of the state of Oaxaca has “unjustifiably” postponed its ruling on the case.
Cristina Sada, producer of the documentary, explained that the film will soon be distributed nationally and translated into English and Italian.