Defrocked Chilean pedophile priest dies aged 90

In 2010, Fernando Karadima was accused of molesting young boys throughout the 1980s and 1990s. PHOTO: AFP

SANTIAGO (AFP) - Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima, whose case helped expose a culture of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church, died aged 90 at a retirement home in Santiago, according to a document seen by AFP on Monday (July 26).

In 2010, Karadima was accused of molesting young boys throughout the 1980s and 1990s, sparking the sexual abuse scandal that rocked Chile's Catholic church.

A Vatican canonical court found him guilty in 2011, and in 2018 he was defrocked by Pope Francis.

Karadima died on Sunday night from "bronchopneumonia, kidney failure, diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure," according to his death certificate, seen by AFP.

The archdiocese of Santiago did not confirm the death and merely stated Karadima was no longer a priest.

Karadima headed a parish in an upscale Santiago neighbourhood from 1980 to 2006, forging close links to Chile's political and economic elites.

A senior cleric, Karadima trained many of the current Chilean hierarchy.

According to official figures, more than 200 members of the Chilean church had been investigated for more than 150 sexual abuse cases up to 2019.

Investigations have identified more than 240 victims, including 123 children.

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