In the surroundings of the O’Higgins Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which is still headed by the prosecutor Emiliano Arias – cleared a couple of months ago from the last accusation against him by the Criminal Oral Trial Court of Rancagua – there are a couple of questions that for a long time they had no answer.
And, furthermore, what kind of power was the one that operated without counterbalance in the Prosecutor’s Office to obtain profits in a troubled river, after two years of cross accusations that did nothing more than expose the weakness of the Public Ministry under the leadership of Jorge Abbott ?
During the oral trial that he won in Rancagua, the defense of Arias – led by the lawyer, former prosecutor and former intelligence analyst, Cristián Cáceres – presented transcripts of the traffic of calls to the prosecutor Sergio Moya’s phone, “third-flag operations” were revealed.
From the correlation of facts in that trial, key steps, meetings and dates arise that point in only one direction: the Catholic Church. When the earthquake fell on Rancagua, in April 2019, the team of prosecutors that at that time was in charge of the investigation into the sexual abuse of priests, expected that the National Prosecutor’s Office would send them a study on the law of criminal lawyer Juan Pablo Mañalich, who would confirm the thesis on the cover-up of Cardinals Francisco Javier Errázuriz and Ricardo Ezzati.
March 22, 2019 is an essential date. That day the Santiago Court of Appeals rejected the definitive dismissal of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati. “It is not possible, for now, to maintain that the investigation in relation to the defendant Ezzati is exhausted and even less that a possible intervention as a cover-up of the aforementioned defendant in any of the crimes investigated in this procedure can be ruled out,” said the resolution.
The imputability as cover-ups was given by not complying with an obligation expressly imposed on the hierarchs of the Catholic Church by the Code of Canon Law: that of investigating acts of sexual abuse and establishing the responsibility of the perpetrators of such crimes.
A little over a week after the Court’s ruling, specifically on Sunday, March 31, a strange meeting was held, which until today has no further explanation, except that that day could be noted as the beginning of the “Operatio Impunitatis” .
Curiously, that meeting was also attended by the prosecutor Xavier Armendariz, who at that time was not leading any case against the Church, but a little more than a month later would be designated by Abbott himself as the persecutor in charge of the cases against Errazuriz and Ezzati. to remove the case from the prosecutor Emiliano Arias.
Between the decision of the Court and the meeting called by Abbott, a time bomb begins to develop in parallel – and for different reasons – whose main protagonist is the former High Complexity prosecutor of Rancagua, Sergio Moya.
According to what the lawyer Cristián Cáceres managed to prove in the oral trial (which ended with the acquittal of Arias), through the exposure of the traffic of calls to Moya’s cell phone, this prosecutor had started a kind of “third flag” operation , by means of which it was sought to create false contexts to predispose Abbott against Arias, making a relationship that already had a series of previous episodes untenable.
The day after the nocturnal communication between Moya and Abbott, where the former spoke to the head of the Public Ministry about the “irreparable break” with Arias, the scandal that sparked the National Prosecutor intensifies with a new leak. This time it was a photograph of Senator Letelier with the Rancagua judges investigated for different cases of corruption and which denoted ties of friendship.
In a chat with family members, Moya tells them that after the leak his friends, judges, who are covered in their faces, “are wearing a churretera”, to which his relatives reply that then “they will no longer screw him up.” In response, Moya confesses that, on the contrary, now these judges would be indebted to him, since it was he himself who “covered their faces.”
With the “third flag” operation underway, which sought to create the false context that Arias was trying to harm Abbott with the issue of the senator, the National Prosecutor proposes that Moya meet immediately and cites him for 09 April at 1:30 p.m. As stated by Moya himself, this meeting was suddenly brought forward, being set for 11: 3 o’clock.
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.”
In the cross-examination that the lawyer Cristián Cáceres gives to Abbott due to the oral trial against Arias, it is evident that Abbott’s policy of not mediating the cases did not apply to everyone equally. To the point that the National Prosecutor congratulates Moya for reporting prosecutor Arias to the media.
By that date, however, the cases for sexual abuse against priests were advancing at great speed, specifically on the edge that involved the crime of concealment of Errázuriz and Ezzati. While the special team, led by Arias, worked on drafting the facts with a view to requesting a hearing to formalize the cardinals, the team of investigators was waiting for the National Prosecutor’s Office to send them a study on law that they had commissioned from the expert. in criminal law, Juan Pablo Mañalich.
While that was happening, the National Prosecutor’s Office took cognizance of the requested law study – which finally never remits at the same time that Jorge Abbott was advancing in a controversial agreement between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Episcopal Conference to facilitate the development of criminal investigations.
With the scandal unleashed by the prosecutor Sergio Moya, Jorge Abbott names the persecutor Eugenio Campos to initiate a criminal investigation against Arias, suspends him from his position and, nine days after he signed the cooperation agreement with the Episcopal Conference, exactly On May 9, the National Prosecutor removed the cause of the Church from Arias, who at that point had accumulated all the cases against in this matter at the national level.
Since this case came to the hands of Armendariz, two years have already passed, without progress, so it is still in the deformalized investigation stage.
In addition to this, doubts about Armendariz’s suitability to investigate the cases against the Catholic Church were increased when, at the end of last year, a case came to light that involved a certain conflict of interest and that led to complainants requesting his exit: his father, a layman linked to the world of the Church, appeared among those denounced for sexual abuse.
Armendáriz Elórtegui was a layman, however, he was appointed extraordinary minister and was part of Action Catholic (where Renato Poblete was). He passed away in 2006.
The case is deactivated when the prosecutors had already begun to have meetings with human rights institutions, because, had they obtained a conviction against Errázuriz and Ezzati, the crime of cover-up would have revealed that the deliberate refusal to investigate the cases of sexual abuse would have been of both authorities in their capacity as cardinals, that is to say, as active members of the Vatican State, homologous that condition to the quality of “State agents”, through which they would have committed crimes.
Everything got worse with the suspensions due to the social outbreak and later due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the North Central Prosecutor’s Office ruled out inaction and specified that progress has continued in the cases, and that some investigations have been concluded.
Muñoz Toledo’s lawyer, Gabriel Henríquez, considered that “clearly it is a huge time. As a defense, we have urged not to carry it out until we could have the conditions to restart it completely in person. Our counterpart has urged to try to restart the trial all online or online, to which we opposed “.
In the Maristas case – which was reviewed by the South Metropolitan prosecutor, Héctor Barros – the case was transferred to the old justice system at the end of May of this year, and although the survivors agree that the process could be even slower, in a statement they maintained that “after four years of investigation, the State of Chile through the Public Ministry has restored part of our dignity by recognizing us as victims of these repeated sexual crimes, between 1973 and 2004.”
According to the lawyer, these situations end up favoring the accused and giving them impunity. “The same thing that happened to us with Pinochet, the priest Poblete or with Bishop Cox may happen to us, that they end up dying in impunity, and that is a very serious flaw in our legal system and our justice system.
“There was an impulse at the beginning, when the prosecutor Arias was handling the investigation, where this progressed at an enormous speed, in which very important facts were established (…). When the causes are separated, the National Prosecutor’s Office does not worry that this momentum is maintained, much progress had been achieved there, ”criticized Hermosillo.
That is a very serious crime, it is difficult for one to understand. That crime is not prescribed or anything, it is obstruction of the investigation. And cases like that, or that of the Salesians, or that of Cardinal Errázuriz lying under oath in the case against the archbishopric, saying that he had not closed.