Once the investigation was completed, the final report was sent along with all the documentation to the General Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome for study and consultation with the Congregation (now the Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In September 2022, the plausibility of the allegations was determined.
To date, the Jesuits explained, no complaints or testimonies from victims in the Roma case have been received, and so they reiterated the request to those who may have information about the case to file the complaint with the public prosecutor’s office.
The Jesuits also expressed their availability to care for the victims and provide the necessary accompaniment.
Role of the Bolivian government
In a press conference, the attorney general of the State of Bolivia, Juan Lanchipa, acknowledged that eight complaints have been received. Besides Pedrajas, Roma, and Mestre, the Jesuits Luis Tó and Antonio Gausset were named.
The attorney general reported that all cases deal with accusations of sexual abuse and expressed his concern about the “negligence that this Catholic organization has had by not reporting these incidents in a timely manner” and not providing protection to the accused.
For his part, the general prosecutor of Bolivia, Wilfredo Chávez, said that “there is a duty to history and to the victims” to investigate sexual abuse committed by clergymen and the “systematic cover-up.”
The Bolivian attorney general’s office has recently requested the collaboration of the Spanish state attorney general’s office to dig deeper into the investigation. This is because in Bolivia the statute of limitations for crimes has not expired, and “the Inter-American Court has determined that, in these cases, rape is equivalent to crimes against humanity.”
What is sought with this collaboration is to be able to have access to the investigative material obtained by El País through the nephew of Pedrajas and even to the diary itself, where the priest acknowledged the abuse.
The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, condemned what has taken place, called for “severely punishing” cases of pedophilia in the Jesuit order and urged “all agencies required by law to investigate.”
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After the investigation on Pedrajas published by El País, the newspaper received the testimony of a victim, who reported that the sexual abuse also involved priests Francesc Peris and Carlos Villamil (deceased), both Jesuits from the community at John XXIII school in Cochabamba where Pedrajas was principal. However, no complaints have yet been filed with the Bolivian public prosecutor’s office.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.