"On March 16, 2020 these 15 priests were notified after a preliminary investigation was carried out. They are neither convicted nor acquitted by this suspension, only asked to relinquish their parish duties, cease celebrating the Eucharist and cease their ministerial service while the complete investigation is conducted," the priest explained.
The results of the preliminary investigation "are now being sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, and there they will determine the gravity of the facts and what the Church calls a penal canonical process will be conducted," Villabón said.
"It's unknown how much time the canonical process will take, but the idea is that it proceed as quickly as possible, considering that in Italy and in many parts of the world there's a quarantine because of the coronavirus," the communications director added.
Caracol Radio published a list of the 19 priests, but Villabón told ACI Prensa that the archdiocese would neither confirm nor deny the names reported.
"According to a witness under protection by the prosecutor's office, the 19 priests apparently formed a network of abusers, Caracol Radio reported.
In an April 3 statement, the archdiocese of Villavicencio announced that an accusation was received Feb. 14, 2020 concerning "acts against sexual morality by some priests of this archdiocese."
"Having as a priority the alleged victim, we expressed to him our deep pain and solidarity and have offered him psychological and spiritual accompaniment. We reaffirm our commitment to act with clarity and transparency for his good and that of the Church," the statement said.