Pope Francis on Saturday expelled a Chilean priest under investigation in a case involving the sexual abuse of children, according to a report by local media on Saturday, amid a growing global abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church.
The Archdiocese of Santiago said the Pope had chose to defrock the Reverend Cristian Precht, local daily El Mercurio reported.
Cardinal Luis Ladaria notified the Chilean Church that Francis decreed the removal of Father Cristián Precht Bañados "with no possibility of appeal" on September 12, the Archdiocese announced.
Cristian Precht already had earlier been suspended from priestly duties for five years after an investigation into similar allegations.
The Archbishop issued a statement at the time saying that "during the process were established verifiable reports of abusive behavior with adults and minors".
When the allegations of sexual abuse were first made against Precht in 2013, he denied "ever forcing anyone's will, be it an adult or a minor, woman or man". "I will defend my personal and clerical honour in every way I can and any time it's violated". A family that I love very much lost its dad, its son, its husband, ' said Juan Andres Murillo, one of the most notorious victims of the scandal involving the removed priest Fernando Karadima and one of the witnesses who was received by Pope Francis in Rome this year.
Precht was quite popular in Chile and known for being a fierce defender of human rights during the Chilean dictatorship.
The Public Ministry is expanding the investigations to gather more documents that will allow making progress in the episode of abuses against minors by members of the Catholic Church, as a total of 119 cases have been opened so far.
His defrocking comes as the Catholic Church continues to face criticism over its response to myriad allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic clergy over the years.