Archive photo a LC junior seminarians, Apostólicos. Priest featured is not accused, nor are any of the boys featured necessarily victims.
The Legion of Christ, through its Press Office, Oficina de Prensa, is beginning to reveal more recent cases of priest members suspected or found to be child sex abusers.
1- ReGAIN has found the following statement in English regarding a relatively recent case in the USA: Fr. Benjamin Cieply, LC
ReGAIN is discovering how the Legion is revealing these cases (mandated by the Vatican or local bishops?) piecemeal, some in English, some in Spanish. So it is hard to see the extent of the abuse.
2- The Fr. John O’Reilly, LC, case in Chile is now common knowledge. Irish-born, Fr. O’Reilly joined the Legion in the late 1960s and found his way into the privileged position of being one of Fr. (The Saint) Maciel’s favorite waiters at the mother-house in Rome… Because of his good manners, smiling disposition and assimilation of the Legion system he ended up in Chile, promoting the Legion and Regnum Christi among the political (Pinochet & Co.), business and conservative church upper classes. Together with Fr. Raymond Cosgrave he was the main LC/RC mover and shaker in Chile. During the last decades he was also chaplain at one of the Legion’s elementary school. His demise began with accusations he had sexually abused two little sisters who were students. The parents’ civil case went on and on in Chilean courts until he was convicted and sentenced to four years supervised house arrest. Fr JOR lost his Chilean citizenship and was expelled from the country. The case was later referred to the Vatican where the conviction was upheld and the Vatican imposed its own sanctions. . He is now residing at the LC mother house in Rome.
In and effort to clean up its image, The Legion has been emitting communiques about Fr. JOR for the past year or more. The most recent . communique was found by ReGAIN in Spanish
With further research an English version might be found
3- A more recent conviction we posted was the case of Vladimir Reséndiz who abused two boys at the Legion’s minor seminary in Gozzano, Northern Italy.
4- Very recently the Legion’s Spanish language Press Office released a long statement regarding Fr. José Luis Díaz Atilano, a drawn-out case of this Mexican priest in Chile which was tried in civil and ecclesiastical court. The Legion wants to show it is doing the right thing…
One may wonder why these convictions occur so long after the offense was reported. This happens for a variety of reasons:
- the victims are young, innocent, vulnerable and don’t know how to defend themselves or speak up
- they may be very ashamed, thinking they are the guilty party (this is part of the art of pedophilia)
- it may take a long time for people to believe them after they do summon up the courage. They may be dissuaded from talking, for a variety of reasons.
- The Legion may try to bribe them (see Gozzano case) to keep silence.
- Cases can be difficult to prove because of time elapsed (statute of limitations)
- Cases may cost the victim/family money they don’s have.
- Courts are exceedingly slow.
- Separation of Church and State in some countries make judges leery of getting involved against Catholic Church or Catholic institutions and religious orders.
- Church courts and tribunals are usually slower than civil courts….
- Legion may try to defend the accused member and have the financial resources to protract the case for months or years, “interrogatories” etc., until the e victim runs out of money… Many cases never reach trial….
In another recent move the Legion has stressed its “safe environment” guidelines; however, a careful scrutiny reveals that the Legion still prefers to handle its cases in-house, i.e. that victims contact the Legion outreach staff. Besides, their American guidelines may not be applicable to other countries. In the USA the Legion vaunts its participation in the safe environments system Presidium, but this may be limited to the USA or English-speaking world.
WITH THE LEGION AND REGNUM CHRISTI, YOUTH AND PARENTS NEED TO READ THE SMALL PRINT BEFORE COMMITTING. Remember, they were founded by a conman!