Chilean police raid bishops over sex abuse allegations

Chilean priest Oscar Munoz Toledo (C) remains at a courtroom in Rancagua, 80 km south of Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 14 July 2018
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Chilean police raid bishops over sex abuse allegations

  • Munoz, 56, faces a 15 year prison sentence for the alleged abuse
  • The Chilean church has been hit by pedophilia scandals implicating dozens of priests

SANTIAGO: Chilean authorities on Friday seized documents and computers in raids targeting the Catholic church in the cities of Temuco and Villarrica amid a pedophilia scandal that has gripped the country, judicial sources said.
Local media reported the investigation began on June 19 following allegations of sexual abuse against five clergy members.
The operations took place after the bishops of those cities refused to hand over information requested by prosecutors.
The raids came after prominent Chilean Catholic priest Oscar Munoz, who was vice-chancellor and then chancellor in the archdiocese of Santiago, was detained Thursday over allegations that he sexually abused and raped seven children between 2002 and 2018.
Munoz, 56, faces a 15 year prison sentence for the alleged abuse, which took place from 2002 in the capital Santiago and the southern city of Rancagua.
He was placed in preventative detention on Friday.
The Chilean church has been hit by pedophilia scandals implicating dozens of priests. Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of five bishops, four of whom were accused of turning a blind eye to abuse or covering it up.


Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan faces rape accuser in court

Updated 1 min 50 sec ago
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Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan faces rape accuser in court

  • Ramadan was charged in France in February with raping two women in hotels in 2009 and 2012
  • Swiss prosecutors have also opened an investigation into allegations that he raped a woman in a Geneva hotel in 2008

PARIS: Prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan was due to face one of his rape accusers in a French court Tuesday as he seeks bail after seven months in custody on charges he furiously denies.
Ramadan, a frequent TV commentator, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when the rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement late last year.
The Swiss citizen, whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was charged in France in February with raping two women in hotels in 2009 and 2012.
Swiss prosecutors have also opened an investigation into allegations that he raped a woman in a Geneva hotel in 2008, local media reported Sunday.
Ramadan, 56, has repeatedly sought bail arguing that being in prison is making it more difficult for him to receive treatment for multiple sclerosis.
In a video posted on Facebook Monday, his son Sami said his father had been “presumed guilty since the start” and that he appeared frail during a recent visit. “He needs assistance and a walking frame to move,” he said in the video.
But judges have ruled that he has adequate care in the prison hospital at Fresnes in the southern Paris suburbs.
On Tuesday, he will come face-to-face with the disabled woman who accuses him of attacking her in the eastern French city of Lyon in 2009.
She remains anonymous but is known in the media as “Christelle.”
Ramadan was initially due to face her at a hearing in mid-July but it was postponed after Christelle’s lawyers said she was unwell.
Ramadan, a married father of four who has dismissed the allegations against him as a smear campaign, has denied any sexual contact with Christelle.
At a previous hearing she described a scar on Ramadan’s groin as proof they had a sexual encounter, but his lawyers have argued she could have obtained this detail from one of his former mistresses.
He has said he engaged in a flirtatious exchange of messages with the woman and met her for around half an hour in the hotel lobby, while she maintains that he raped and beat her in his room.
His other French accuser, a Muslim fundamentalist turned secular activist named Henda Ayari, went public with her allegations last October.
She said she was encouraged to speak out by the global torrent of sexual harassment and abuse stories unleashed by the allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Both she and Christelle said they approached Ramadan, one of the best-known Islamic scholars in Europe, seeking religious advice.
Ramadan’s lawyers have pointed to inconsistencies in Ayari’s account of the alleged attack.
Another woman, French former call girl Mounia Rabbouj, has accused Ramadan of raping her several times in France as well as in London and Brussels between 2013 and 2014, but he has not been charged over those allegations.
He maintains he had a consensual affair with Rabbouj, describing relations that were “feisty” and involved “domination.”