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why does bernie sanders not care to know this about his hero?

April 16, 2016



… and the rest of the US politicians

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013 and president of the Argentine bishops’ conference from 2005 to 2011. During these years, as church officials in the US and Europe began addressing the catastrophe of child sexual abuse by clergy – and even as Popes John Paul II and Benedict made public statements – Bergoglio stayed silent about the crisis in Argentina.

He released no documents, no names of accused priests, no tallies of accused priests, no policy for handling abuse, not even an apology to victims.

In his many homilies and statements (archived on the Buenos Aires archdiocesan website), he attacked government corruption, wealth inequities, and human sex trafficking, but he said nothing about sexual violence by priests.

In On Heaven and Earth (first published in Spanish in 2010), a wide-ranging collection of conversations with Argentine rabbi Abraham Skorka, he suggested in fact that the problem did not exist in his archdiocese:

In my diocese it never happened to me, but a bishop called me once by phone to ask me what to do in a situation like this and I told him to take away the priest’s faculties, not to permit him to exercise his priestly ministry again, and to initiate a canonical trial.
Bergoglio’s implication, that he handled no abusive priests, is implausible. Buenos Aires is Argentina’s largest diocese, and Bergoglio was one of its top executives from 1992 to 2013 – a period when tens of thousands of victims worldwide reported their abuse to the Church. Based on data disclosed in dioceses in the US and Europe, we estimate conservatively that from 1950 to 2013, more than 100 Buenos Aires archdiocesan priests offended against children and that dozens of them were known to archdiocesan supervisors, including Bergoglio. presents this overview of Bergoglio’s role and the abuse crisis in the Argentina church in the hopes of facilitating more disclosure and understanding of Pope Francis’s approach to this grave and pressing issue. We highlight Bergoglio’s involvement in five cases, the current response to abuse by other Argentine bishops, and the unusually important role of whistleblowers. Finally, we provide an in-depth database of accused Argentine priests. Our first non-US database, this marks the launch of our global coverage; we eventually will produce accused priest databases for all countries with significant Catholic populations. (Also see the database in Spanish.)

Questions about Bergoglio’s role in five abuse cases

The factors that have produced disclosure by bishops and religious superiors in other countries – civil action by victims, investigations of the church by prosecutors, and governmental inquiries – have occurred little or not at all in the Federal Capital of Buenos Aires, which is the territory of the archdiocese. As a result, almost no information has emerged about Cardinal Bergoglio’s direct management of accused priests. Only one Buenos Aires archdiocesan priest – Carlos Maria Gauna – has been publicly accused. But in the high-profile cases of four child molesters from religious orders or other dioceses – Grassi, Pardo, Picciochi, and Sasso – there is evidence that Bergoglio knowingly or unwittingly slowed victims in their fight to expose and prosecute their assailants. Victims of all four offenders say that they sought the cardinal’s help. None of them received it, even those who were poor, struggling on the periphery of society – the people whom Pope Francis has championed. (According to Bergoglio’s former spokesman, the cardinal declined to meet with victims.)

• Fr. Julio César Grassi – Grassi was convicted in 2009 of molesting a boy who had lived in a home for street children that Grassi founded. After Grassi’s conviction, Bergoglio commissioned a secret study to persuade Supreme Court judges of Grassi’s innocence. Bergoglio’s intervention is believed to be at least part of the reason that Grassi remained free for more than four years following his conviction. He finally was sent to jail in September 2013. See our detailed summary of the Grassi case with links to articles.

• Fr. Rubén Pardo – In 2003, a priest with AIDS who had admitted to his bishop that he had sexually assaulted a boy was discovered to be hiding from law enforcement in a vicarage in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, then headed by Bergoglio. Pardo also was reportedly hearing children’s confessions and teaching in a nearby school. One of Bergoglio’s auxiliary bishops, with whom he met every two weeks, appears to have lived at the vicarage at the same time. Typically, an ordinary must give permission for a priest to live and work in his diocese. It is unlikely that Pardo lived and ministered in Buenos Aires without Bergoglio’s approval. See our detailed summary of the Pardo case.

• Brother Fernando Enrique Picciochi, S.M. – After a victim discovered that his abuser had fled Argentina to the US, eluding law enforcement, the victim sought Bergoglio’s help in getting released from the confidentiality order imposed by the cleric’s religious order. He conveyed his request in meetings with Bergoglio’s private secretary and with the auxiliary bishop, current archbishop Mario Poli. The archdiocese would not help. See our detailed summary of the Picciochi case.

• Rev. Mario Napoleon Sasso – In 2001, following a diagnosis as a pedophile at a church-run treatment center, Sasso was made pastor of a very poor parish with a community soup kitchen in the Zárate-Campana diocese. In 2002-2003, he sexually assaulted at least five little girls in his bedroom off the soup kitchen. In 2006, with Sasso in jail but not yet convicted, the parents of the little girls reportedly sought Bergoglio’s help. Bergoglio was then president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, and the soup kitchen was just 25 miles from the Buenos Aires archdiocese. Bergoglio would not meet with them. See our detailed summary of the Sasso case.

• Rev. Carlos Maria Gauna – Gauna was an archdiocesan priest under Bergoglio’s direct supervision. In 2001, two girls at a school filed a criminal complaint saying Gauna had touched them inappropriately. Bergoglio reportedly was going to look into it. Gauna still works in the Buenos Aires archdiocese. Notably, he’s now a deacon and a hospital chaplain – possible indicators that Bergoglio considered the allegations credible but decided to demote him rather than remove him from ministry. See our detailed summary of the Gauna case.

Management of accused clerics by other Argentine bishops and religious superiors

Bergoglio’s strategy for suppressing the crisis in Buenos Aires – his behind-the-scenes refusal to help victims combined with a total lack of transparency – continues to be the approach of many of Argentina’s bishops and religious superiors.

As of March 11, 2014, a year after its most powerful prelate was elected pope, the Argentine bishops’ conference has issued no significant public statement on clergy sexual abuse. Nor has it published the abuse-response policy that it was supposed to finalize and submit to the Vatican by May 2012. Such policies have been posted by bishops’ conferences in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, as well as those in the US, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe.

Instead, as the database reveals, various Argentine bishops and religious superiors have sided publicly with convicted sex offenders. They have used threats and gag orders to silence victims. They continue to keep accused priests in ministry . They exploit both Argentina’s and the Vatican’s weak reporting law – they are not legally required to report to civil authorities most incidents of child sexual abuse by priests. They have enabled abusers to escape to other dioceses, other countries, and to Rome. They have argued in court that parents are to blame for their children’s sexual assaults by priests. Most alarming, they have applied these practices recently. See the examples below.

The unique importance of whistleblowers in Argentina

If not for Sebastián Cuattromo’s determination to bring to justice his abuser, Fernando Picciochi, the cleric still might be living freely in the US today. Because of the courage of Gabriel Ferrini and his mother Beatriz Varela, we learned of Bishop Luis Stöckler’s concealment of the crimes of Father Rubén Pardo. The prosecution of Father Grassi resulted from an October 2002 broadcast by Telenoche Investiga and the work of journalist Miriam Lewin and her colleagues. Archbishop Storni would have escaped prosecution if not for journalist Olga Wornat’s book, Nuestra Santa Madre. Father Napeolon Mario Sasso might still be assaulting little girls if not for the determination of three whistleblowers, Lia López, Sr. Martha Pelloni, and Father Luiz Guzmán. An investigation by journalist Daniel Enz published in Analisis magazine revealed the crimes of Father Justo José Ilarraz and his protection by Paraná archbishops Karlic, Marlion, and Puiggari.

1. Number of accused priests in Catholic dioceses where there has been significant disclosure
• In the diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, with less than one half the priests of Buenos Aires, the Attorney General‘s office documented alleged abuse by 98 Catholic clerics from 1950 to 2009.
• In the Providence, Rhode Island, USA diocese, which has had on average one half the number of priests as Buenos Aires, a bishop admitted to 125 accused priests since 1971.
• In the Los Angeles CA archdiocese, about 1.5 times larger than Buenos Aires (measured by number of priests), 265 clerics [click on Los Angeles] have been accused publicly.

2. Responses by Argentine Bishops and Religious Superiors to Cases of Child Sexual Abuse by Priests
• In September 2013, the bishop of Rio Negro, Monsignor Marcelo Cuenca Revuelta, stated publicly that Father Julio César Grassi, a convicted priest whose guilt had been confirmed by two appeals courts, was “completely innocent.” He said the priest had been framed by unnamed parties that want to punish Grassi and impede the church’s outreach to poor children.
• In August 2013, molestation charges against Father Justo José Ilarraz were dismissed. Yet church officials do not dispute that they have known since the early 1990s of Illaraz’s sexual abuse of many boys, ages 12 to 14. The priest even admitted to the abuse in a secret church trial in 1995. But because the priest’s archbishop, Cardinal Estanislao Esteban Karlic of Paraná, had sworn Ilarraz’s victims to secrecy, the crimes were not reported to law enforcement until 2012, shortly after the 20-year reporting period had expired. Karlic’s successors, Archbishops Mario Luis Bautista Maulión (2003-2010) and Juan Alberto Puiggari (2010- ), also kept Ilarraz’s crimes secret, allowing him to stay in ministry in another diocese until 2012. In August 2013, Cardinal Karlic’s lawyer applauded the dismissal of the case against Ilarraz and defended the cardinal’s cover-up: “This was a crime of private action. Parents should have made the complaint.”
• In April 2013, attorneys for Bishop Luis Stöckler of the Quilmes diocese argued in court that Beatriz Varela was partially responsible for her son’s sexual assault by Father Rubén Pardo because she had allowed the boy to stay overnight with the priest. The court ruled in favor of Ms. Varela and her son.
• In 2004, authorities considered pressing criminal charges against Bishop Rafael Rey of Zárate-Campana for enabling the sexual assault of girls as young as age five by Father Mario Napoleón Sasso. Rey had assigned Sasso to run a parish and soup kitchen in a poor neighborhood in 2001 despite knowing that Sasso had recently been treated for pedophilia at a church-run treatment center. In 2002 and 2003, Sasso molested at least five young girls who frequented the soup kitchen. Prosecutors spared Rey and instead charged two lower-ranking priests in the diocese for enabling Sasso to elude arrest.

GrassiDatabase of Accused Argentine Priests

We have examined news and court archives to identify 51 clergy in Argentina publicly accused of sexually abusing minors and vulnerable adults. At least seven appear still to be in active ministry: Cacciuto, Ricardo Giménez, Paz, Gauna, Suttle (an American recently sent to Buenos Aires), Urrutigoity (now a vicar general in Paraguay), and Yulán.

Most of these cases involve alleged abuse that occurred in the last 20 years; the online public record contains very little information about clergy sexual abuse in Argentina before 1995. In addition, most of these cases were reported by the victim or the victim’s parents to law enforcement within two to three years of occurrence. We know from abuse data published elsewhere that such prompt reporting to civil authorities by victims is atypical. Most children who are sexually abused, especially by Catholic priests, never report their abuse; those who do report usually do so decades later.

This list, then, is a fraction of the total number of accused clerics who would be known if Argentina’s bishops were required to report to law enforcement, if its legal system allowed victims more time to bring criminal and civil charges, or if dioceses were investigated by prosecutors or state commissions. In Ireland and the Netherlands, which have fewer priests and Catholics than Argentina, church officials have admitted to totals many times larger. In the US, with a priesthood just eight times larger than Argentina’s, bishops have admitted to 6,275 accused priests and deacons. (See comparative table.)

This database collates information from media coverage and court filings, which exist only because of the courage of survivors and the diligence of journalists. The database is entirely dependent on their work and a tribute to it. We hope that the database is a useful compilation, and we ask that you email us at with corrections and additions.


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  1. opheliart permalink

    thank you VICTIMS … for coming forward, and thanks to all at bishopaccountablity, SNAP and others … for your hard work.

    can anyone anywhere tell me to my face that I am harsh in writing about the roman catholic church, the vatican … the pope … priests, bishops, cardinals and the rest of their lot? catholic doctrine? catholic social teaching? can anyone with any honesty tell me to my face that ignoring these children and their families is in any way proper behavior coming from these men of influential seats … men with much power?

    abusing … shuffling priests so they could rape and abuse more children? hiding these crimes … lying about it and where they admitted it … no one saw to it that these men and women were thoroughly investigated? what kind of laws are in place that allows any institution to get away with what the roman catholic church has gotten away with and continues to get away with … law enforcement … government/public offices?

    what is working in the minds of people that they would do this to children? what EVIL lives within our society that thinks this institution and those involved with it can be trusted?

    president of the united states of america, you and all our government officials, should be removed. you cannot be trusted. you have allowed this to continue for your own party’s power and your own selfish interests. ALL OF YOU WILL FACE THE PENALTY OF THESE CRIMES …

    don’t believe this? watch what comes … we are just getting started.

    • opheliart permalink

      Found One April 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm
      There is much to be learned through these debates. Christian censorship would be an ignorant thing to do. You must learn to separate the debate from reality, or look the fool. Science has shown that religious belief destroys the minds ability to differentiate reality from fantasy, and your attitude supports the conclusion. You must get right with the world.


      IF MOST OF THE WORLD IGNORES THE CHILD RAPE AND ABUSE … which it is … do you get right with the world? ha! such idiocy. the poster is a fool.

      allow us a few examples of fool’s gold …

  2. opheliart permalink

    if the world says to bomb israel … is this right? if iran gets its feathers ruffled (and do know that iranian leadership of sharia law and those like it is not proper and just governance in america … and cannot be trusted) …

    SCIENCE CREATES BOMBS … and this is right for … ? dropping bombs that kill people—innocent people– because it is worldly —the secular, state decision thing to do … is right?

    using pesticides to try and squelch the rise of a certain insect that causes virus if bitten. the toxic pesticides don’t do much to kill the insect but it does great damage to wildlife, water, plants, crops, children and other insects that are doing good for the environment —helping to keep balance. is this the right thing to do?



    need we say more?

    CONSCIENCE … in AWARENESS, not found one’s trolling rhetoric … that satisfies his self-agenda of worldly gain. heck, the world thought smoking was safe for a very long time … where were the minds of the health professionals and centrists back then? how about certain drugs now found to be harmful where many lost their lives. no, science is not the KNOW EVERYTHING and the world is certainly not knowledgeable and certainly not in understanding … if it were, we would not be having this discussion.

    fool’s errand—-fool’s gold.

    • opheliart permalink

      the world still trusts the clergy and higher ups of PATRIARCHAL RELIGIOUS … including the atheist’s worldly politicians … such as barack obama and co … democrats and republicans seem to have no issue with allowing molesters/rapists and those having hidden the crimes of molesters/rapists on america soil … and this is right? trust man in his self-agendas—party initiatives—dishonesty and (look at what hillary clinton did in covering up her husband’s crimes of raping women … bill cosby and others … hollywood’s crimes on sexually abusing children and … paying women a much lesser salary than the men and … the public wage for women throughout the nation) and this is right? this is all WORLDLY STUFF …

      should you listen to found one and trust government or any other institution with your children?

      where has government as an institution failed the people?

      😀 … just look around. seems found one is the ignorant one but then … we know he is an atheist stiff neck troll.

      • opheliart permalink

        we put found one in the same category as those hiding crimes. he is dangerous as he is dishonest. he hides … the truth about the world because he is what? who denies the truth? who is willfully ignorant? who looks the other way, refusing to see his own … disease?

  3. opheliart permalink

    the question you should be asking: … online posters … poe troll or truly ignorant?

    the atheists it seems have been patting the backs of many poe trolls or … doing battle with hedge funds


    because they have no GIFT of vision/hearing on what is beyond their reach. and can easily fall victim … to worldly ____________________________

    they would not know if they were being betrayed.

    • opheliart permalink

      we found it interesting that so few posted on salkin’s two RNS pieces addressing the debate situation at morehouse. awfully quiet on this topic which is saying something about the world? where they stand or sit on this topic. is there a growing hatred of israel due to professorial and political agendas? using the youth to squelch and silence the voices on one side while inciting the voices on another? creating a hate mob? who initiated this one-sided rhetoric?a president going abroad telling THE WORLD: 98% of the world is for the iran deal (a lie, of course) … set the stage and we warned of this type of rhetoric. so, the youth … a very inexperienced and disillusioned , uneducated … hate mob? hey, we said months ago to the jew … it will get worse before it gets better. get rid of catholic social teaching which is steeping in emotion and you will steady the ship.

      squelching and silencing voices is a vice … we see it on the topic of LGBT and abortion and in other areas where one side is determined to destroy the other. like dropping bombs. worldly endeavor … yes? universal mindset? yes? very catholic in its roots? we are right and you are wrong?

      GOD IS IMPARTIAL. just a reminder, however … if you do not know GOD and God does not know you … partiality is your fare to worldly endeavor.

      • opheliart permalink

        if you want to counter this type of rhetoric you will have to learn to ARTICULATE differently. step out of catholic mindset and ignite in Truth. in this … you will begin to see where politicians and religious betray you … and others and …

        you are compelled to speak out about the injustice in and of the world THROUGH …

        EASTERN PARADIGM. to show or demonstrate … show side by side (not only one side).

        move toward impartiality.

  4. opheliart permalink

    and just to state weak alibis is not enough. if you know you are articulating in a fair and just manner and the people continue to argue for their ‘side’ in a mob atmosphere then you can pretty much count on there being bloodshed. and remember, evil does not want to be found out. so … it will use anything and everything of emotion and weak attribute, including malaise … complacency … the popular … for its own meal. to satisfy its own interests, not for the betterment of all and esp not for that move toward HUMANITY

    human does not exist in violence of any form … know this. what man calls human is a fallacy. he forgets his own deeds.

  5. opheliart permalink

    war is imminent because policy is partial

    • opheliart permalink

      people have been operating within roman catholic mine fields for generations. they have not exercised in the periphery of these fields to see what waits for … its prey. like a coyote lurking on the outskirts, waiting for the opportunity to strike in the nest of bunnies … while no one is watching and … there is no guardian

      • opheliart permalink

        I recall an incident in an orthodox church a number of years back. a woman said, “you have a hair on your back” and she took it … and although I was talking with another, I could “see” to the side of me that she did not toss the hair. … more AWARE than actually watching it … she took it to her side and held onto it. I never looked down .. but was aware through another means that her move was different … a peripheral view. I never said a word about it though …

        why did she want a strand of my hair? what did they want to know about me?

        through another means I learned something about my ancestry that my own parents could never know. 😉

  6. opheliart permalink

    do I think the jews are the knowers with their predestination based on their torah (scribes -scribes-scribes writing to set themselves up as knowers of GOD … religious gods yes but LIFE? nope)? predestination? in judaism? what are you talking about! we are talking about those thinking they are special. we read their comments on forums… their religious wordy acumen and we see where they are going to face jurisdiction on what they injected into the world … that made it legalistic. they think themselves free of blame … in this tent city. huh … what comes your way? where is your god if you are being constantly harassed and accused? where are your scribes to save you from these accusations in this day? or any day? how much longer will you blame others for your resistance? or for your worldly support?

    playing party favorites will not save judaism, buying into worldly acclaim … saves who? what? …

    you think yourselves above ME? bring it on and we will show you the meaning of LIFE! but you must be willing to begin again … your rhetoric is arrogant and nasally … like one clogged up with too much self-esteem.

    • opheliart permalink

      what did you do with the early writings of ENOCH?

      • opheliart permalink

        was he not to your liking? or did your scribes not understand these words and decide to build themselves a dynasty?

  7. opheliart permalink

    the WORLD will know the truth about these religions …

    it is coming … and the jews will have to make a decision about … well, what they believe. people are getting antsy … …

    • opheliart permalink

      the time has come for revelation … in light of truth

      • opheliart permalink

        just because you can does not mean you should …

        what have you done to our youth?

  8. opheliart permalink

    and so … men accustomed to pornography … and … prostitutes … decide that these women are … like those in their feeding?

    theirs because women are … for sex? sexy? used for sex? abused for sex? sold as sex slaves? nothing more than for men to use as they desire?

    maybe these men do not view women as equal to them? or sex as something to be engaging in in a respectful way?

    • opheliart permalink

      WHO-WHAT has taught these men that they are permitted to use and abuse?

  9. opheliart permalink

    President Rafael Correa rushed home from a trip to Italy to supervise the emergency. “The immediate priority is to rescue people in the rubble,” he said. “Everything can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be recovered, and that’s what hurts the most.”

  10. opheliart permalink

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — The Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes in South America, a yearlong GlobalPost investigation has found.

    Reporters confronted five accused priests in as many countries: Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru. One priest who relocated to a poor parish in Peru admitted on camera to molesting a 13-year-old boy while working in the Jackson, Miss., diocese. Another is currently under investigation in Brazil after allegations arose that he abused disadvantaged children living in an orphanage he founded there.

    All five were able to continue working as priests, despite criminal investigations or cash payouts to alleged victims. All enjoyed the privilege, respect and unfettered access to young people that comes with being clergy members ………

    • opheliart permalink

      “May you never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care for your children and your elderly, [and] to have confidence in the youth,” he [pope francis] said.

      except those children and young women and girls … right pontiff?

      • opheliart permalink

        you and all your delegates are going down … get ready for the hardest years of your lives!

        and may you taste the sin you attached to others … that you may learn your ignorance and your poverty of love

        and you will be choking on your lies and your hypocrisy so you better get a bucket ready

  11. opheliart permalink

    kylo ren is rey’s daddy … 😉 how so? we thinks snoke imposed on him while young and stole his sperm (remember, he is not your average being) … implanted this within another to try to create an army of power-filled jedi disciples for …

    oh, gad … sounds like some religions I see.

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