Vatican to Interview Chilean Sex Abuse Victim Juan Carlos Cruz in Person

Vatican’s sex-crimes expert changed plans about interviewing a sexual abuse victim. The expert will now interview Juan Carlos Cruz in person instead of on a Skype call. Cruz is a survivor of one of the most notorious pedophile priests in Chile.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of a Chilean pedophile priest, alleged that his pleas to be heard were ignored by Pope Francis. It all comes down to whether or not Pope Francis read that letter Cruz sent in 2015. Since he accused the church of a cover-up, the Vatican changed plans about interviewing Cruz via Skype. He will now be interviewed in person by Vatican’s sex-crimes expert. Read all about the latest developments in Juan Carlos Cruz’s case here.

Change of Plans

Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic priest sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011, is notorious for sexually abusing minors. Karadima was held guilty of his crimes by the Vatican.

Juan Carlos Cruz is one of the victims of Karadima’s sexual abuse. The Associated Press reported that Cruz wrote a letter to Pope Francis in 2015. In the letter, he writes that the Pope’s protégé, Juan Barros, was present at the time of his sexual abuse.

Barros was later made Bishop. Cruz questioned the Pope’s decision to make Barros a Bishop in his letter. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, one of the Pope’s most trusted advisers, personally delivered the letter to Pope Francis.

Bishop Juan Barros denied knowing of any abuse committed by Karadima. Pope Francis, on a recent visit to Chile, said that he had not seen any evidence that Barros witnessed the abuse committed by Karadima.

His statements sparked an outcry, including a rare public rebuke from Cardinal O’Malley. He called Francis’ comments  “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.”

However, AP published a report on Cruz’s letter that contradicted the Pope’s claims denying Barros’ involvement. The report led to a swift change in Vatican’s plans.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a clergy member with extensive experience in investigating sexual abuse, was scheduled to take testimonies of Cruz and other victims. The original plan called for Scicluna to interview Cruz via Skype since he lives in Philadelphia.

Scicluna called Cruz and asked if they could meet in person. They scheduled a meeting on February 17 in New York. Cruz had prior plans in New York anyway. After getting an in-person testimony from Cruz, Scicluna will travel to Chile to interview other victims.

New Hope for Cruz

Cruz credits the AP report for causing “Vatican’s change of attitude.” He appreciated Scicluna’s gesture. He took it as a sign that his testimony is being regarded seriously.

Cruz said, “I see a good disposition, that they’re not only taking my testimony seriously but also that of all those who are desperate living with the anguish of sexual abuse and a church that does nothing for them.”

Earlier, Cruz accused the Vatican of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse. “The Pope goes around the world apologizing for the sexual abuse of children,” he said, “but he doesn’t do a thing.”

Pope Francis

Photo: Franco Origlia/Stringer

There’s new hope for Cruz and other victims of Karadima’s abuse. Archbishop Charles Scicluna is one of the foremost experts in Canon Law and conducted thorough investigations into sexual abuse crimes committed by members of the clergy.

He famously went against the church officials to sanction an investigation into the case of Rev. Marcial Maciel, a serial pedophile. He traveled extensively to interview Maciel’s victims. Maciel was sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer,” the same as Karadima.