The Vatican began an investigation into a former U.S. priest accused of child abuse and child pornography in East Timor began in September 2016 but he was only removed from where he allegedly committed the crimes three years later.
Documents seen by Lusa show that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was investigating the case involving former Father Richard Daschbach between September 2016 and October 2018, when it decreed his “punishment for life” and expulsion from the priesthood.
The documents indicate that the investigation began even earlier since September 2016 is the date that marks the entry into the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of a first report on the case.
The dates are mentioned in a confidential document dated 6 November 2018, which confirms the beginning of the investigation and the decision to expel the priest who, however, remained with access to the Topu Honis orphanage where he worked, until last year.
Signed by Paulos Budi Kleden, Superior General of the Society of the Divine Word (congregation to which the former priest belonged), the document – marked as process 208/2018-67069 and obtained today by Lusa – explained that the investigation at the Vatican began on 13 September 2016.
In an interview with Lusa on Friday, the Timorese Attorney General, Jose da Costa Ximenes, confirmed that the prosecution process of the former U.S. priest involves charges of sexual abuse of children, child pornography and domestic violence.
Former Father Richard Daschbach, 82, is under house arrest in Dili and is accused of abusing at least two dozen children at the Topu Honis orphanage where he worked.
The controversial report, which includes data on the alleged victims, attempted to shift all of the former priest’s responsibilities by seeking to charge the Timorese judicial and police authorities and organisations that have supported victims of “collective sexual abuse” for allegedly conducting forensic examinations and hearings of victims.
Several of the alleged victims were placed in protective homes, commonly used by the police and judicial system, but the report claims they were ‘abducted’.