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Chilean priest stole babies for adoption, says Catholic Church

A priest in Chile has been accused by the C​atholic Church of playing a major role in the forced adoption of at least two babies without the knowledge of their mothers.

Gerardo Joannon is also under the spotlight for his "inappropriate relationship" with one of those mothers although no further details were given.

He had allegedly taken the babies away from their single mothers in the 1970s and 1980s, where there was a heavy social stigma attached to unmarried mothers. He told both mothers that the infants had died.

"The preliminary investigation has established the truth of the accusations... he always knew that both babies did not die," said Alex Vigueras, a regional church head.

Said prayers for supposedly dead children​

Joannon even led masses for the supposedly dead children, said Vigueras.

He ​will not be punished by the church because too much time had passed since the events in question.

The priest is also said to be heading to Spain for "reflection", according to Vigueras.

Public prosecutors are continuing to investigate, and the country's child welfare service has said that it has passed on information relating to at least eight cases.

Source: Reuters