As part of the investigation into alleged pedophilia committed by Jesuit priests in Bolivia, the commission of prosecutors in charge of the cases has requested reports from the Vatican.

Mauricio Nava Morales, prosecutor for the Department of Chuquisaca (administrative district), told local media that the information they are requesting are the reports that the provincials of the Society of Jesus would normally send to the Vatican about “irregularities” that occurred in their jurisdictions. 

“The Vatican has all the information from the provincials, who, in any case, were the ones who supervised each city,” the prosecutor explained.

The investigation began following a complaint filed by former Jesuit Pedro Lima with the Chuquisaca prosecutor’s office against the now-deceased priest Antonio Gausset for alleged sexual abuse and Father Ramón Alaix for alleged cover-up. Another of his complaints about incidents that took place in the city of El Alto was dismissed because it belonged to another jurisdiction.

“It’s important that the Vatican may be able to also report on the complaints that the provincials in Bolivia were aware of,” Nava said, noting that when there were irregularities at the national level, the authorities “informed the Vatican.”

Along the same lines, Nava reported that a request for information has been made to the neighboring country of Paraguay.

The prosecutor announced that during raids carried out in the offices of the Catholic Church in La Paz, a commission of prosecutors collected “important documentation.”

The next step is to wait for the judge to set a hearing date for the opening of the sealed documents.

Lima, who was a member of the Jesuits from 1992 to 2001, gave a deposition to the public prosecutor’s office as a victim of sexual abuse by the aforementioned Jesuits.

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The former Jesuit claimed not only to have witnessed abuse but also to have himself suffered sexual abuse and the abuse of power by members of the Society of Jesus.

Lima told the media that in 2001 he was expelled from the order by Alaix after he supposedly reported to the Jesuit authorities the sexual abuse that had been allegedly committed by Father Alfonso Pedrajas and other priests.

The personal diary of the Jesuit priest Alfonso “Pica” Pedrajas, who died in 2009, has been at the center of a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Society of Jesus in Bolivia in recent months. 

The diary, which refers to at least 85 incidents of sexual abuse of minors and involves other priests and superiors, is already in the hands of the Bolivian authorities.

The scandal broke out when the Spanish newspaper El País published an investigation revealing that after Pedrajas’ death his nephew found a 383-page file on the priest’s computer where he confessed to his crimes.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.