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Chilean priest accused of abusing daughter

By Federico Quilodran
Associated Press / April 15, 2010

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SANTIAGO, Chile — A Chilean priest has been charged with eight cases of sexually abusing minors, including his own daughter, and his diocese says he was suspended from his duties in the Roman Catholic Church early this year.

Ricardo Munoz Quinteros, 55, is accused of paying young girls for sex. State television broadcast video Tuesday night that it said shows the priest entering a motel with a young girl he paid for her services.

Prosecutors in Curacavi, on the outskirts of Santiago, formally charged Munoz on Tuesday with crimes dating back five years, expanding the initial sex abuse charges for which he was jailed in January.

Prosecutor Cristian Caceres said investigators are looking at whether the diocese tried to cover up Munoz’s activities, noting a series of transfers of the priest among four parishes within a few years, according to Radio Bio-Bio. According to the charges, the priest abused girls between 16 and 18 years old, as well as his daughter, who was 5 at the time.

Prosecutors are also processing charges against the girl’s mother, Pamela Ampuero. They say she facilitated the abuse of their daughter and other young girls. Ampuero offered $60 to the girls to accompany Munoz to motels, prosecutors say.

Another woman, who did not give her identity, accused Munoz on the state television report of being the father of her son.

Caceres said Munoz also was found with stores of child pornography that he has been charged with producing.

When the scandal broke in January, Munoz was serving in the parish of Melipilla, a rural town 55 miles west of Santiago, and the bishop expressed “shock and dismay’’ at the priest’s alleged double life.

In an interview yesterday, a spokeswoman for the diocese said Munoz had been suspended from his official duties until his legal and religious status could be resolved.

“As soon as the bishop found out in January about the situation reported in the press, he suspended the former priest. So in addition to being a prisoner, he cannot deliver the sacraments,’’ spokeswoman Jessica Gomez said.