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Chilean priest accused of stealing children for adoption

August 13, 2014

A Chilean priest has been charged with illegally taking newborn babies from their parents and arranging their adoption.

There is credible evidence that Father Gerardo Joannon "actively participated in two cases of illegal adoptions," a Church spokesman announced. During the 1970s and 1980s, the priest reportedly told unwed mothers that their children had died in childbirth, and in at least one case celebrated a funeral Mass for a baby, despite knowing that the child was alive. Father Joannon also had an "inappropriate relationship" with the mother of one of these children, the spokesman said.

Father Joannon has been suspended from ministry and sent to Spain for "a process of psychological and spiritual accompaniment," announced Father Alex Vigueras, the provincial of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His case is also being investigated by Chilean prosecutors.


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