The Catholic Church in Colombia has released the names of 26 priests who have been investigated for alleged sexual abuse of minors, local media reported on Saturday.
The Archdiocese of Medellin released the list of defendants between 1995 and 2019 in response to a court ruling in favor of Juan Pablo Barrientos, a journalist investigating an alleged network of religious pedophiles.
“Most of these priests…were suspended for a while and became priests again,” Barrientos, who has been investigating sexual assaults by priests for years, said in a video released on Saturday.
Barrientos managed to get his request accepted by the judges and to force the Archdiocese of Medellin to make the list public.
The prosecution, which has not commented on the investigations, received 14 of the complaints on Thursday, although the abuses were committed years ago, according to the document released by the Church.
Monsignor Ricardo Tobon, Archbishop of Medellin, said the institution wants “to show transparency, commitment to the truth and that there is no purpose of concealment.”
In a video posted to the archdiocese’s Twitter account, the religious figure accused Barrientos of “an aggressive smear campaign against the Church.”
According to the journalist, the Church disclosed the names “because the Constitutional Court forced it to do so”.
In 2019 Barrientos published the book “Let the Children Come to Me”, an investigation into pederasty and concealment among the clergy in this South American country, where most people are Roman Catholics.
The Church attempted to stop publication of the book with unsuccessful legal actions.
At least six priests have served prison sentences for child rape in the country.
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