Bolivian Jesuits announce archbishop was accused of rape
May 23, 2023
CWN Editor's Note: The Society of Jesus in Bolivia has announced that a Jesuit prelate, Archbishop Alejandro Mestre Descals, SJ (1912-1988), was accused in 2021 of raping a young adolescent boy.
“The Jesuits outlined the steps they took, including a preliminary investigation, reporting the incident to the general curia of the Jesuits and the prosecutor’s office, and sending the information gathered to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the Catholic News Agency reported.
Ordained in 1943, Archbishop Mestre was Auxiliary Bishop of Sucre (1976-1982) and Coadjutor Archbishop of La Paz (1982-1987). He retired as coadjutor when Pope St. John Paul II chose a different prelate to become the next Archbishop of La Paz.
The disclosure of the accusation is part of a burgeoning abuse scandal in the South American nation. Father Bernardo Mercado, SJ, the Bolivian Jesuit provincial, suspended several of his predecessors amid revelations of a cover-up of the sexual abuse of several dozen minors by Father Alfonso Pedrajas, SJ (1943-2009), an openly gay Jesuit priest.
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