Salvadoran Church asks forgiveness for sex abuse
Wednesday, November 22, 2006; 7:22 PM
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (Reuters) - The Catholic Churchin El Salvador begged forgiveness on Wednesday for a priest whoraped an altar boy and now faces charges he abused otherchildren.
The priest, Jose Daniel Rivas, 60, will face a preliminaryhearing into accusations that he sexually assaulted twochildren and police are investigating three other possiblecases, prosecutors said.
The priest was sentenced on Tuesday for raping an11-year-old boy last year in the town of San Cristobal, east ofthe capital.
"This situation saddens us. We have to ask God'sforgiveness and hope this never happens again," San SalvadorArchbishop Fernando Saenz told the televisor network Telemundo.
Rivas sexually assaulted the altar boy last May when agroup of children spent the night in a church building in SanCristobal, according to the court sentence.
Rivas is the first Catholic priest to be sentenced toprison in El Salvador for child abuse, although others havefaced charges. The court also ordered Rivas to pay $500 indamages to the boy's family.
In November 2003, another priest was forced to pay $25,000to a 31-year-old man for abuses suffered when he was a child.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across the UnitedStates since a priest abuse scandal broke in 2002. U.S. churchdocuments have shown that some bishops shuffled priests withhistories of abuse between parishes or sent them for counselingrather than reporting them to police.
In Mexico, the Catholic Church accused a former altar boyin September of extortion by filing a lawsuit charging thatU.S. and Mexican church officials allowed a priest accused ofsex abuse to escape justice.
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