At what point was the fate of Arias sealed that made him go through a suspension that has been going on for more than two years, being that the only cause that remained in force had a maximum administrative penalty of 60 days of suspension assigned?
For the critics of Arias, the problem is that he wanted to bite several prey at the same time, large prey. Cases of drug trafficking and police corruption passed through his hands, in addition to emblematic causes such as SQM, Corpesca and Caval, among others.
Through which it was sought to create false contexts, and interrogations and cross-examinations were carried out against the National Prosecutor, Jorge Abbott, where he fell into more than one contradiction.
And not just any thesis. One that not only allowed compromising the criminal responsibility of the highest hierarchy of the Chilean Catholic Church, but even the responsibility of the Vatican State itself.
Until that moment, both he and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz had been summoned to testify as defendants, based on the inaction of the religious in at least 4 cases of sexual abuse: the one involving the expelled priest Jorge Laplagne; that of the late Tito Rivera; that of the former Chancellor of the Church, Óscar Muñoz Toledo; in addition to the edges of the Karadima case.
The support of the Court to the thesis of the Prosecutor’s Office strengthened the conviction of the special team of investigators that the time had come to target the highest of the Church, the cardinals, full members of the Vatican State. And the facts that would support the request for formalization of Errázuriz and Ezzati began to be drawn up.
On that day, the National Prosecutor, Jorge Abbott, summoned prosecutors with causes of sexual crimes against representatives of the Catholic Church to an extraordinary meeting. Emiliano Arias and the then South Metropolitan Regional Prosecutor, Raúl Guzmán, today Secretary General of the Senate, attended.
The reason for this Sunday meeting was to bring the persecutors together with Celestino Aós, who had recently been appointed by Pope Francis as apostolic administrator, after Ezzati’s resignation as Archbishop of Santiago was accepted in Rome, one day after that the Court rejected the dismissal of the cardinal. The “unusual” meeting was brewing hours after Aós traveled to Rome to meet the Pope.
On March 25, the prosecutor Arias – Moya’s hierarchical superior – notified his subordinate of the initiation of a summary that he had to carry out against him, as a result of a series of events that compromised the administrative and criminal responsibility of Moya, within the framework of of Operation Hurricane, that of the assembly of police intelligence officers to falsely accuse 8 Mapuche community members of an illicit terrorist association.
On April 9, 2019, at midnight, Sergio Moya sends the following WhatsApp message to prosecutor Abbott.
According to Moya’s call and messaging traffic record, exposed in the oral trial against Arias, it was established that the origin of the leaks had been Moya himself, as he confesses to his family members.
The strange thing is that, at that same time, on that same April 9, Jorge Abbott met with the lawyer Hugo Rivera Villalobos, the defender of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the three of them coinciding: Abbott, Rivera and Moya at the same time.
Days after this meeting, which Moya describes as “a complete success”, the High Complexity prosecutor tells his relatives again that the prosecutor Abbott asked him to “save the bell”, regarding his meeting with Letelier, in a interview that Moya would give to Tomás Mosciatti, and in which they actually ask him about the episode, Moya declaring that “Abbott was unaware of the content of the meeting he was going to hold with Letelier.”
Thus, on April 19, Moya at 7 in the morning sent a new message to the prosecutor Abbott, in which he proposed – to prevent Arias from being victimized by taking an important edge of the case of the judges from Rancagua to Santiago – denounce Arias and remove “his superhero mask”. The complaint, however, did not imply writing it through internal channels, but publicly, through the media, which Abbott not only approves of but also encourages.
On April 19, Moya’s complaint against Arias took place, in which he accused him of crimes of concealment of information, influence peddling, violation of secrecy and obstruction of justice. Regarding the complaint, a major scandal is caused in the Public Ministry that ends with the suspension of Arias from his position as Regional Prosecutor.
This report was fundamental, because it supported the legal bases of the thesis of the team of prosecutors that would allow requesting the hearing for the formalization of Ezzati and Errázuriz. Knowing that Arias was most likely suspended, he sent a letter to Abbott on April 22, in which he formally communicated his intention to formalize the cardinals.
In which the Public Ministry undertook to report the progress of the investigations against priests to the authorities of the Catholic Church in a timely manner. This agreement, the prosecutor Abbott materialized on April 30, 8 days after Arias informed him of his intention to formalize Ricardo Ezzati and Francisco Javier Errázuriz.
In addition, it disarms the team of prosecutors formed to jointly investigate the cases, distributes these among different prosecutors throughout the country and leaves in the hands of the Central North Regional Prosecutor, Xavier Armendáriz – Abbott’s henchman in the Public Ministry -, the most important cause and for which Cardinals Errázuriz and Ezzati were weeks away from requesting its formalization.
It should be noted that Armendariz was the first prosecutor to gather certain information for an eventual cover-up by the cardinals when, in 2015, he had to investigate the Karadima case, for which he declared himself incompetent, passing the case to the old system, where he was finally he applied the prescription.
The prosecutor’s sister, Angelina Armendáriz, testified before the PDI on August 29 and, hours later, on her social networks published a photo of her father, Pedro José Armendáriz Elórtegui, with accusations against her. “My abuser, the one who destroyed my childhood, destroyed my family and our trust in life,” she wrote.
The case against the cardinals entered into an eternal delay in the hands of Armendariz, just when the team of prosecutors was working on a hypothesis that, if they had been able to carry out, formalizing the cardinals and eventually achieving a conviction, would have caused a schism even greater in the Catholic Church, with unsuspected consequences that reached directly to Rome.
According to the complainants of cases of ecclesiastical abuse, since the change of prosecutors, there has been practically no movement in their causes, or they have slowed down, since changes were also made in the teams that would carry out the cases.
In any case, there are emblematic cases that have experienced a significant delay, such as that of the former Chancellor of the Archbishopric of Santiago, Oscar Muñoz Toledo, formalized on July 18, 2018, and whose oral trial was permanently suspended, since it had already been postponed before -the March 13, 2019–. That process will only resume on March 1, 2022, that is, it was paused for about 2 years.
Although the lawyer explained that the suspension has been viewed “with tranquility”, he acknowledged that they never thought it would be prolonged for so long, and that these deadlines could make it difficult to resume the continuity of the process.
The plaintiff attorney for several of these cases and a member of the Trust for Trust, Juan Pablo Hermosillo, maintained that “the Chilean State has always acted slowly in these cases, but this has become a dramatic problem in the last year and a half, two years. And, therefore, we have many investigations, from the criminal point of view, which have become extraordinarily slow, especially from the point of view of police work ”.
There is a pattern of conduct, one noting that impunity is beginning to be concentrated in sectors of powerful people, not in humble sectors, “added the lawyer, who stressed that this greatly affects the complainants.
The lawyer recalled that, during the Arias period, “it was determined that there were hidden folders inside the archbishopric of Valparaíso that had been denied and hidden by the diocese, and the result is that this is searched, and they are discovered hidden in the ceiling, covered by a blanket these folders.