A Bogota court orders the Colombian church to reveal its records on a priest, resident in the U.S., who is accused of sexually abusing minors more than 40 years ago, newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday.
The court said the church must disclose the records of Father Efrain Rozo, overruling the Bogota Ecclesiastical Court, which had refused the request on the grounds that disciplinary investigations conducted by the church are private.
Former Assistant Judge Augusto Ocampo, who submitted the request, will attempt to reopen proceedings in Colombia, which had been closed because it was more than 20 years since the date of the alleged abuses. The former judge argues that systemic sexual abuse is a crime against humanity and therefore not subject to the statute of limitations.
In 2006, Rozo was reportedly recorded confessing to sexually abusing his nephew while assigned to the Archdiocese in Los Angeles and working at Loyola Marymount University between 1967 and 1969. In the video he also confessed to fondling a 14-year-old student in Colombia, for which he has faced lawsuits in the United States.
Until the scandal, Father Rozo had been a popular priest known for his work promoting youth bicycling. Rozo had also written books about Christian values and served as chaplain for various universities.
Rozo, who now lives in a priests’ residency in Bogota, may face further lawsuits in Colombia, depending on the findings of the investigation.