Mexico City – A Mexican judge on Tuesday sentenced a Catholic priest to 63 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy between 1994 and 1998, the victim and his lawyer said.
Carlos Lopez Valdes, 72, was also ordered to pay 4 000 dollars in damages to Jesus Romero Colin.
Lopez was found guilty of abusing Romero while he was between 11 and 16 years old. The boy was assisting the priest at a Mexico City church.
Romero’s lawyer David Pena described the case as a “watershed” for being the first guilty verdict of a Catholic priest in a sex abuse case in Mexico City, one of the world’s largest Catholic dioceses, though there have been guilty verdicts elsewhere in the country.
Romero said he had reported Lopez for abuse already a decade ago, but both church and civilian authorities tried to shelve the case while the priest continued celebrating Mass.
Church authorities “argued that I wanted money, that I was lying, that I wanted to attack the church,” Romero said.
Lopez was detained in 2016, three years after Romero received a letter of apology from Pope Francis.
“We need to wage another battle” to make the church face the responsibility for the cover-up, said Romero, who is a psychologist by profession.
The archdiocese of Mexico City said: “We deeply deplore what happened.”
“These terrible behaviours make us feel pain and shame,” the statement added, pledging “zero tolerance” of child abuse.
Pena said he would appeal the sentence to increase the amount of damages, and that he was also considering suing the church.
Rights group: Mexican priest gets 63 years for sex abuse
Published on Wed Mar 14 2018
By: Staff The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — A Mexican human rights group says a Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 63 years in prison for abusing a boy.
The Action Group for Human Rights and Social Justice said Tuesdays the conviction and prison sentence for Carlos Lopez Valdes is the first against a priest in Mexico City. He would only have to serve 40 years, the maximum sentence applicable in Mexico City.
The Mexico City court system and prosecutors’ office do not normally announce or confirm such sentences.
The 72-year-old priest had been arrested about 1 1/2 years ago. The man who filed the abuse complaint said it took years to convince prosecutors to file charges and ask for an arrest warrant.