The ecclesiastical government of Táchira suspended the priest Nepomuceno Hernández from his pastoral practice after being accused of his alleged participation in sexual abuse to a teenager, according to a statement. Hernández was the parish priest of San Juan Bautista (Iglesia La Ermita) located in the La Concordia sector, San Cristóbal, Táchira.
In the document, the Diocese of San Cristóbal, presided over by Mario Moronta, expressed “with great shame and deep pain” that the priest was arrested by the police authorities and brought before the courts where he was sentenced to deprivation of liberty.
“It is an unfortunate fact that has no justification. Likewise, the ecclesiastical authority – the Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristóbal – has guaranteed the Superior Prosecutor of the State of Táchira – and other competent authorities that they will neither oppose nor interfere in the investigations and actions that have to be carried out due to this fact. In this sense, the Diocese of San Cristóbal does not endorse or cover up cases like this one,” says the statement released through social networks on Monday night.
The document states that the priest in question is responsible for his actions and must answer for them before civil and ecclesiastical law. “He has the right to defend himself, for which he will have the assistance of a lawyer that he himself appoints. The Diocese shows his concern and offers his accompaniment to the victim of this embarrassing act, ”indicates the text.
The Diocese also informed that it will open a process against Hernández according to the laws and regulations of the Church. By virtue of this, Bishop Moronta agreed to suspend Father Nepomuceno Hernández from his priestly exercise “and has removed him from the pastoral positions that he exercised. At the same time, the corresponding canonical process begins, according to the protocols and regulations in cases of sexual abuse against children, adolescents and vulnerable people.