There are accusations against a Catholic priest named Fr. Milton Murillo that he engaged in sexual assault with seminary pupils. It was revealed due to a recently discovered diary that belonged to a deceased Spanish Jesuit named Alfonso Pedrajas, who passed away several years ago.
Sexual Misconduct of a Catholic Priest
In the past week, the notorious incident of Fr. Alfonso Pedrajas was brought to public attention, exposing additional cases that had previously been examined by the Bolivian court system for some time, including the sexual misconduct of Fr. Milton Murillo. A report from Rival Times stated that in 2009, Pedrajas passed away due to cancer. Fr. Pedrajas reportedly kept a private diary in which he admitted having sexually molested around 85 children in Bolivia throughout the 1970s and 1980s in Catholic boarding schools in Bolivia.
Based on the information from Sandra Gutiérrez Salazar, the regional prosecutor, during a hearing that took place late on Thursday, May 18, Fr. Murillo, a Catholic priest who serves at the Church of San Roque in the southern area of Tarija, was ordered to be held in pre-trial custody for three months in response to the allegation of abusing seminarian students a decade ago. According to a report from ABC News, as part of the ongoing investigation into whether or if there has been any cover-up, the prosecutors have requested testimony from victims of Pedrajas and other priests. Despite previous claims of misconduct by Murillo, recent statements by alleged victims have concluded that he should be detained.
This week, the Bolivian government indicated that it would establish a Truth Commission to look into reports of sexual abuse involving young people. It will also work to pass legislation that eliminates statutes of restrictions for offenses of this nature. Moreover, human rights organizations stated that, up until this point, very few of the charges of pedophiles involving priests in the Andean nation had been thoroughly examined, even though there have been many such accusations.
Church Leaders' Response to the Issue
On Friday, May 5, a detailed feature article in the journal of Padre Pica, also known as Father Alfonso Pedrajas, was published in the Spanish daily El Pais, Pillar Catholic reported. The priest passed away several years ago and served most of his ministry in Bolivia, where he was responsible for administering a school for boys from disadvantaged rural homes. He was also a sexual predator who kept a journal detailing his sentiments regarding his predatory assaults; his Jesuit buddies and colleagues were reportedly aware of his misdeeds. It has been said that the diary of Padre Pica is a horrifying but probably one-of-a-kind look into the life and psyche of a serial sexual abuser and the clerical culture that enabled him to continue preying on youngsters for decades.
On the other hand, the Bolivian Bishops' Conference issued a statement stating that they were in "solidarity with the victims who have suffered acts of sexual abuse." "We ask for their forgiveness, and we want to tell them that we share their suffering and disappointment for these serious events that have marked their lives and been a cause of deep pain," bishops added. Additionally, the Bolivian province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) responded to the news, stating that the Jesuits had reported the incident to the authorities to get an investigation into Pedrajas' case started.