The Catholic Church in Chile has suspended a priest who specialises in exorcisms accused of sexually abusing his female cousin.
The priest was named as Roberto Carlos Valderrama Bastidas of Biobio Region.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Concepcion has confirmed his suspension.
According to reports, a male cousin of the priest accused Father Valderrama Bastidas of having sexually abused his sister, then aged 25.
The abuse is believed to have taken place during a “healing” ritual.
A complaint was filed against the suspect last year, when he was the parish priest of El Sagrario in Concepcion.
Valderrama Bastidas, then aged 44, protested his innocence and said he would cooperate with the investigation.
Incredibly, the Archdiocese revealed in a statement last month that the suspect was a member of the council for the prevention of abuse and support for victims.
And now, his lawyer, Antoine Penaloza, has announced he will take legal action this week against the Archdiocese for “violating due process” in the canonical inquisition.
The case has been sent to the Vatican.
According to local reports, Valderrama Bastidas specialised in “exorcisms” and “healing” rituals.
The Catholic Church authorises the use of exorcism for those who are believed to be the victims of demonic possession.