There is a crisis of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Cuenca, Ecuadorean Archbishop Marcos Perez said after testimonies from alleged victims have taken an abuse case against a priest to the Prosecutor’s Office.
A four-day convention attended by the archbishop, a foreign notary, witnesses, the four alleged victims and their relatives was held in the Ecuadorean city to hear complaints against the 90-year-old vicar Ceasar C.M. who allegedly molested minors while working as an administrator of his school, Victor the V, at least five decades ago.
A delegate and judicial religious, Jaime Ortiz de Lazcano, arrived from Santiago, Chile to act as a neutral third-party observer to judge whether the case merits a canonical trial in the Vatican. Perez said the results of this report balanced with the priest’s current health and age will determine whether or not the church will continue with its investigations.
The most recent testimony was reported from, Jorge Palacios, a 60-year-old victim who attended Victor the V and was allegedly abused by the prelate from the age of five to 15. During a national tv broadcast, the alleged victim revealed that out of fear, many teachers overlooked Ceasar C.M.’s tendency to visit students in their rooms at night.
“The father saw me and thought I could be an easy prey to his needs,” Palacios said, saying that the priest used the catechism to justify his actions. As a child, he was taught to be “submissive” to their elders, Palacios explained, and this made it difficult to recognize abuse.
Shame kept his story a secret from his family until ten years ago, Palacios said, adding that the years of trauma and silence ‘ruined’ his life. He blames his struggles with social anxiety, rebelliousness, and alcoholism on the 10 years of abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of the institution's rector.
The case and three other complaints will be analyzed by the Prosecutors Office in Azuay. The sister of one of the alleged victims, Maria Palacios, stated that judicial processes are underway and is confident the results will favor the victims, El Universal reports.