SANTIAGO – At least 14 minors were abused by a Marist Brother from the 1970s until 2000 at the Instituto Alonso de Ercilla and the Marcelino Champagnat schools in Chile.
The Marist Brothers, in a statement to parents and teachers last week, said the order has begun legal action against Abel Perez, and its leaders have met with victims and will donate money to an NGO that protects children.
Perez acknowledged the abuse to his superiors in 2010 and was later transferred to Peru. But the order was advised at the time not to disclose the abuse until victims came forward, according to Brother Mariano Varona.
About Perez’s future, Varona said he would remain a member of the order despite the abuse, even if he is convicted and imprisoned.
“You have to have mercy and also worry about the abuser,” Varona told local media. “Abel Perez is a person. He has all our respect despite of what he’s done.”
In the Aug. 8 statement to parents and teachers, the Marists said “we can assure you that we have taken all the necessary efforts so that it doesn’t happen again.” “These acts cannot be repeated ever again in our community,” it read.
According to Associated Press, the case would be investigated by prosecutors dealing with sex crimes and domestic violence.
Earlier this month, the general director of an elite school founded by the Marist Brothers in neighboring Argentina admitted he sexually abused a student 38 years ago.
The Marist Brothers are an international religious community of more than 3,000 Catholic Brothers dedicated to making Jesus “known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected”.
Today Marist Brothers are located in 79 countries in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. There are over 600,000 young people in Marist schools around the world each year. The Marist Brothers are joined worldwide by more than 70,000 lay men and women who share in their mission.