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Ex-bishop of Magallanes Bernardo Bastres and police chiefs are prosecuted for covering up the disappearance of Ricardo Harex

The minister in visit of the Court of Appeals of Punta Arenas Marta Jimena Pinto put the ex-bishop of the Magallanes region to trial on October 11 Bernard Bastrestwo priests and four retired police officers as accessories to the crime of abduction of a minor, specifically of the adolescent Ricardo Harex (17). The disappearance occurred on October 20, 2001 in Punta Arenas.

In addition to Bastres, those subjected to process are the priests Leonardo Santibanez Martinez Y Vincenzo Soccorso di Bonoand the carabinieri in retirement Hernan Bravo Aris, Hector Pena Monsalves, Maximo Sanchez Marquez Y Anwar Kharufeh Jadue.

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Harex’s disappearance

In the resolution, Minister Pinto established that Harex left her house on the night of October 19, 2001, on her way to a friend’s birthday, which was held in a barbecue area. The teenager left the scene in the early hours of October 20 and headed to the Esso Market gas station, where he consumed a drink and a meal. In that place he disappeared.

“The aforementioned disappearance is attributable to the participation of third parties who could present psychopathological alterations and/or institutional power; and undercover by members of the aforementioned institutions and that corresponds to qualify as the abduction of a minor under 18 years of age,” the document states.

The text also indicates that “founded presumptions appear” of the participation as cover-ups of the carabineros (r) Hernán Bravo, Héctor Peña, Máximo Sánchez and Anwar Kharaufeh. The resolution points to the same for the three priests mentioned.

The role of Rimsky Rojas

Ricardo Harex was in his fourth year at the Liceo San José, directed by the priest Rimsky Rojas Andradeaccused of abusing minors. They also point out that he collaborated with the National Intelligence Center (CNI) in the midst of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Rojas committed suicide in 2011 in Santiago, in the midst of the investigations into the disappearance of the teenager.

According to Minister Pinto’s resolution, different witnesses pointed out that Rimsky Rojas was outside the barbecue area where the friend of the disappeared person celebrated his birthday.

“Based on the testimonies, reconstruction of the scene and expert opinions carried out throughout the investigation, that there is a theory of the case based on behaviors and comments attributed to the now deceased Salesian priest Rimsky Rojas Andrade that relate him to the disappearance of the minor Ricardo Harex González”, add the document.

Regarding the participation as cover-ups by the three priests, the text points out that “the existence of abusive behavior in relation to young students by Rimsky Rojas Andrade since at least 1994 and 1995, to the knowledge of ” Santibáñez, Soccorso, Bastres and the Salesian provincial (between 2006 and 2008) Natale Vitali Forti.

The visiting minister Marta Pinto established preventive detention for the defendants, but given their age and the health situation due to coronavirus, they will serve it at home. This, pending the decision adopted by the Court of Appeals of Punta Arenas once it reviews the resolution.

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