Philippines

Vatican expels Chilean priest accused of sexual abuse

In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, Pope Francis meets journalists aboard the plane during the flight from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to Rome, Italy. The pope has ordered the expulsion from the priesthood of a man accused of sexually abusing minors. AP FILE

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chilean church authorities say Pope Francis has ordered a man accused of sexually abusing minors removed from the priesthood.

The Santiago archbishop’s office said Saturday the decision cannot be appealed.

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Cristian Precht already had earlier been suspended from priestly duties for five years after an investigation into similar allegations. He is now in his late 70s.

Precht headed the Chilean church’s office in defense of human rights in the 1970s during part of the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Chilean authorities last month raided the headquarters of the country’s bishop’s conference as part of a widespread investigation into sex abuse committed by members of the Marist Brothers order.

The pope earlier ordered an investigation and denounced a “culture of abuse and cover-up” in Chile’s Catholic Church. /cbb

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