To make matters even more sickening, it has since been revealed that one of the priests who was busted reportedly is tied to a program for Hispanic seminarians that was allegedly suspended by the Archdiocese of Chicago a couple of years ago over problems of disturbing sexual misconduct.
Specifically, law enforcement officials in Miami, Florida recently arrested Father Diego L. Berrio, a pastor at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and Father Edwin Cortes, an extern priest originally from Soacha, Colombia who served at a parish in Chicago known as the “St. Aloysius Parish” for the month of August, after catching the two of them performing oral sex on each other in a car that was parked on the street.
According to reports, Berrio, who had just been appointed by the mission to be the interim coordinator for the Office for Extern and International Priests over the summer, was charged with “lewd conduct” and Cortes, whose genitalia was purportedly visible to offers at the time of the incident, was charged with “lewd conduct and indecent exposure.”
Following the incident, Blase Cupich, a Cardinal who serves at the Chicago archdiocese, released a statement letting the public know that they have since cut ties with both men.
“[Archdiocese officials have] removed Fr. Berrio from ministry and withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately,” explained Cupich in the statement.
“The archdiocese will appoint an administrator for the Misión San Juan Diego as soon as possible,” continued the cardinal in the statement, adding, “archdiocese representatives have [also] been in contact with Fr. Cortes’ home diocese of Soacha, Colombia and informed them that Fr. Cortes will not be granted additional faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago.”
Shockingly, shortly after their arrests, it was revealed that Berrio, who became an ordained priest of the archdiocese back in 2008 before later being appointed to the other office as coordinator, previously participated in a program, known as the Casas Jesus program, that invited prospective seminarians from countries in Latin America to come to Chicago on a year-long sponsorship and consider entering the priesthood.
The program, however, was suspended back in 2016 following reports of homosexual activity among participants.
Alarmingly, in addition to the homosexual activity, Father Octavio Muñoz, who was the rector of the program from 2008 to 2015, was allegedly caught with child pornography on his laptop and consequently transferred to a parish for rehab as well.
“On July 28, 2015, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich removed Father Muñoz from ministry and withdrew his faculties, his authority to minister, after the archdiocese learned that the inappropriate material might involve minors,” explained the archdiocese in a statement that was released at the time.
“Given the nature of that material, the archdiocese reported it promptly to the civil authorities and have cooperated fully with their investigation,” they added.
Disturbingly, around the same time, Father Clovis Vilchez-Parra, who’s also reportedly a priest with ties to Casa Jesus, was also arrested on charges of “child pornography” and has since been sentenced to four years behind bars.
Sadly, the sexual abuse of children is not uncommon. A few weeks ago, for instance, law enforcement officials in Florida purportedly arrested a man and a pastor for allegedly sexually assaulting 13-year-old step-daughter of one of the men more than 100 times over the course of a year.
In addition to abusing the young girl, the two men, who were later identified as 32-year-old Avo Roker and 40-year-old Ricardo Strachan, also reportedly told her that if she ever told anyone about the vile abuse, then they would murder her and conduct voodoo rituals on members of her family.
Thankfully, though, local authorities eventually learned about the abuse and subsequently placed arrested Roker on three counts of “sexual assault by a person with custodial authority on a victim between the ages of 12 and 18.” Strachan was also arrested on one count of “lewd and lascivious battery on a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.”
Prior to that, authorities in Georgia reportedly saved approximately 160 children following a sting operation on those in the local sex-trafficking industry. They also apparently arrested roughly 150 criminals.
Before that, 19-year-old Karam Majdi, who supposedly lied about being a Syrian child migrant in order to gain entrance into the United Kingdom from Egypt, was found guilty of allegedly raping a 14-year-old local school girl.
Although he was technically sentenced to seven years behind bars, he was reportedly told during sentencing that he would be deported after serving half of his sentence, which means that in roughly three-and-a-half years in jail, he’ll be given another chance to sneak back into the country and harm someone else.
And several weeks before that, California authorities reportedly placed a total of seven men under arrest on charges of “committing lewd and lascivious acts with children under the age of 14 and conspiracy to commit a crime” after they allegedly touched several underage girls in an inappropriate manner while they were out at a water park.
Without a doubt, many would agree that engaging in or supporting sexual misconduct must not be tolerated, especially within the Catholic church. Thankfully, the Chicago archdiocese appears to understand this and has actively taken measures to distance themselves from the two priests who were recently arrested in Miami.