Peru court sentences Catholic priest to 35 years for raping boy, Reuters

A Peruvian court sentenced a Catholic priest to 35 years in prison on Tuesday for repeatedly raping a boy in the school where he was chaplain – one of the few times Peru has jailed clergy accused of sex abuse.

The court found that Waldir Perez used his position as priest and chaplain at a private school in a poor district to abuse the boy between July 2010 and April 2012.

The boy was 10 years old when Perez first sexually assaulted him, the criminal chamber of Peru’s Supreme Court said in a statement.

Perez, who must also pay the victim 8,000 soles ($2,439) in reparations, confessed to the crimes, the court said. Medical and psychological tests also backed up the boy’s testimony.

The victim said that Perez once gave him 150 soles (about $45) after sexually abusing him so he could buy an MP3 player, the court said.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by sexual abuse revelations in the past decade, especially in the United States and Europe. In recent years, similar accusations against Church members have been growing in majority Catholic Latin America, where clergy are more active in schools.

Pope Francis has vowed to hold all sex abusers in the Church accountable. But victims say he has still not made the changes needed to protect children and punish offenders.

The sentencing of Perez comes as Peru’s attorney general is investigating whether the founder and former head of an elite Catholic society, Luis Fernando Figari, sexually abused children.