Paraguay suspends judges over sentence for abusive priest

Paraguay suspends judges over sentence for abusive priest

Paraguay suspends judges over sentence for abusive priest

Father Félix Miranda Gamarra. (Credit: File photo.)

Three Paraguayan judges who gave a Catholic priest convicted of abusing a 14-year-old a light sentence have been suspended, authorities said Wednesday.

ASUNCION, Paraguay — Three Paraguayan judges who gave a Catholic priest convicted of abusing a 14-year-old a light sentence have been suspended, authorities said Wednesday.

A report by a special jury in charge of the prosecution of magistrates said judges Fabian Iglesias, Nelio Prieto and Blas Zorrilla will not be able to continue in their posts while their decision is investigated.

The judges last month found Redemptorist Father Felix Miranda guilty of the sexual abuse of a minor in the southern Paraguayan city of Encarnacion. But they gave the priest only a suspended two-year jail sentence and a $800 fine, saying the evidence was thin.

A prosecutor filed a complaint against the judges.

The case against Miranda emerged in 2006 when the victim’s mother complained to Paraguay’s bishops’ conference and then turned to secular authorities.

An employee at the country’s bishops’ conference referred all questions to a statement on the case issued last year, which said the church is committed to searching for justice, repairing the victim’s “moral damage” and helping in the “healing process.” It also said the case was being investigated by church officials to determine sanctions.

At the time of his conviction, the Redemptorist province of Paraguay issued a statement saying Miranda had been removed from ministry, was forbidden any contact with minors, and had been urged to cooperate with all investigations against him.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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