Pope Defrocks Chilean Priest Over Sex Scandal

Pope Defrocks Chilean Priest Over Sex Scandal

Pope Francis has removed the Reverend Cristian Precht Bañados of Chile from service, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Santiago.

This is the first formal dismissal the Pope has ordered since all bishops in Chile offered to step down in May over the country's sex abuse scandal, according to a CNN news report.

Precht had been suspended in 2012 within the ministry for five years after the Archbishop of Santiago ordered a criminal probe into accusations of sexual abuse against him.

The Archbishop issued a statement at the time saying that "during the process were established verifiable reports of abusive behavior with adults and minors"

Precht has not been charged with any crimes by Chilean authorities, but was not allowed to leave the country's capital, Santiago, because the church's investigation was on.

In a February 2013 statement, Precht denied "ever forcing anyone's will, be it an adult or a minor, woman or man."

He also denied the allegations earlier this year in a letter to the director of the Chilean newspaper La Tercera.

"I absolutely deny participating, in any way, in the acts which I'm slanderously being accused of," the newspaper quoted him as saying.