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Chile Pope accused of ignoring evidence of church's abuse

POPE Francis was accused yesterday of covering up the Chilean church child abuse scandal after reports he had read the allegations in 2015.

The US Associated Press (AP) agency said it had obtained an eight-page letter from Juan Carlos Cruz graphically detailing his accusations of abuse at the hands of Reverend Fernando Karadima while Bishop Juan Barros looked on.

On the last day of his trip to Chile last month — intended to restore faith in the Church in the wake of the scandal — the pontiff angered victims by calling allegations of the bishop’s complicity “calumny.”

When confronted by a reporter on his flight out of the country, the pope said: “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.”

But members of the Vatican’s sexual abuse commission met Francis’s top adviser Cardinal Sean O'Malley on April 12 2015 to explain their objections to Father Barros’s appointment as bishop of Osorno, and gave him the letter to deliver to the pope.

“He assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns,” then commission member Marie Collins said. “And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.”

Mr Cruz, who now lives in the US city of Philadelphia, heard the same.

“Cardinal O'Malley called me after the pope's visit here in Philadelphia and he told me, among other things, that he had given the letter to the pope — in his hands,” he said in an interview at his home on Sunday.

Neither the Vatican nor Cardinal O’Malley responded to multiple requests for comment.

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