Salvadoran church apologises for pedophilia cases

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) - The archbishop of El Salvador's capital apologised on Sunday (Nov 29) for pedophilia cases involving a bishop and a priest and pledged to clean house.

The two clergymen will also face church justice, he said.

Bishop Jesus Delgado, 77, was suspended from his functions last week as number three in the country's archdiocese after the alleged victim, today a 42-year-old woman, came forward with her account.

She told authorities and church officials that Delgado started raping her when she was a nine-year-old girl and continued until she was 17.

The other alleged offender, who denies the accusations against him, is a priest named Juan Francisco Galvez, who was suspended in October.

Several now-adult alleged victims say he abused them as minors.

"I am deeply troubled by what has happened and I apologise to the victims and to society at large," Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar said during a Sunday homily.

"These two priests of ours now face church justice," he added without going into detail.

"I pledge to fight with all my strength to rid our diocese of this crime."

Delgado, who was ordained in 1962, was a prominent man of God in El Salvador.

He notably wrote a biography of a Salvadoran archbishop who was murdered during mass in 1980, Oscar Arnulfo Romero, and was in the front row at the Vatican a month ago to thank the pope for beatifying Romero earlier this year.