The Iquique Court of Appeals in northern Chile has officially closed an investigation against the Bishop Emeritus of Iquique, Marco Órdenes, accused of rape. A canonical investigation into the bishop is still ongoing.
“There is not probable cause to substantiate the charges made in December 2008,” stated a Jan 26. decision, which confirmed the findings of a five year investigation conducted by a lower court judge, Pedro Güiza Gutierrez.
Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernandez, 53, was Bishop of Iquique between 2006 and 2013. In December 2008, he was accused of abuse by Rodrigo Pino, 27.
In October 2012, Pino told ADN Radio that he met the priest in 1997 when he was 15 and an altar server at the Iquique cathedral.
The young man maintained that “at first it was forced” but later a consensual relationship developed. However, in 2008 he met another man who also was allegedly abused by Órdenes, which motivated him to report the incidents.
The Holy See began a canonical investigation in April 2012. The outcome of the investigation has not yet been determined.
In October 2012, Órdenes' resignation as diocesan bishop was accepted. Immediately afterwards, the Chilean Bishops' Conference made a statement on the “gravity of the inappropriate conduct that Bishop Órdenes has publicly acknowledged” and offered its “full cooperation” in the investigation.
In a statement released Saturday Jan. 27, the Diocese of Iquique said that the “Church accepts and abides by the decisions” of the court.
However, they clarified that the Church's investigation “has not concluded with a verdict.”
The current Bishop of Iquique, Guillermo Vera, asked the faithful “to take the news calmly and with prudence, always keeping uppermost, as the Holy Father asked us during his visit [Jan. 18] to our diocese, respect for individuals.”
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.