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Catholic priest sentenced to 8 years in prison for abusing young Bolivian woman

The event occurred in October 2017 during a 'Family Congress' that the victim attended with a friend, according toJeannethe Rodríguez, the prosecutor handling the case

Un sacerdote boliviano es sentenciado por abuso sexual a una joven
Un sacerdote boliviano es sentenciado por abuso sexual a una joven | EFE/ Luis Gandarillas

May 23, 2024 1:40pm

Updated: May 23, 2024 11:59pm

A court sentenced a Catholic priest to eight years in prison for sexually abusing a 28-year-old girl, the Bolivian Attorney General's Office reported this Wednesday.

The Anti-Corruption and Violence against Women Court of the southern city of Tarija ordered that the priest Jorge L.M.V., also known as 'Padre Coco,' must serve his sentence in the Morros Blancos prison, the Public Ministry said in a press release.

The 51-year-old religious man was found guilty of the crime of sexual abuse committed against J.R.G., a young woman born in the central region of Cochabamba, whose name remained anonymous.

The Tarija departmental prosecutor, Sandra Gutiérrez, explained that once the complaint was received, the Public Ministry carried out “all the actions such as the psychological report, testimonial statements, evidence for the prosecution and defense,” and then issued an indictment.

“A week ago the trial was set up where all the evidence that was heard by the jurisdictional authority that handed down a sentence against Mr. Jorge L.M.V alias 'Father Coco' was presented,” he added.

The purported crime occurred in October 2017 during a 'family reunion' in Tarija that the victim attended with a friend, according to Jeannethe Rodríguez, the prosecutor handling the case.

At the end of the event, the young women went to the priest's office to talk about the activity, and J.R.G. She was left alone with the religious because her friend decided to go to her hotel to pack her luggage.

That moment “was taken advantage of by the accused to sexually abuse the young woman,” who remained silent about what happened until last year, when “publications were made on social networks against priests who were denounced for sexual acts,” according to the prosecution.

The victim reported the event and the priest was arrested in Tarija, the Public Ministry recalled.

Complaints of pedophilia in Bolivia have been in the spotlight after the Spanish media El País published an investigation in 2023 into the diary of the Spanish priest Alfonso Pedrajas, in which he refers to the alleged abuses he perpetrated on dozens of children when he was in charge of a school in the South American country, since 1971.

As a result of this case, other accusations began to come to light against several priests, some already deceased, of sexual abuse of minors and women.

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