Former Chilean Priest Fernando Karadima, a crucial figure in a sexual abuse case that shook the Andean nation’s Roman Catholic Church, died on Monday at the age of 90, according to local media.
Years after a 2011 Vatican investigation found the priest guilty of sexually assaulting underage boys and ordered him to live a life of “prayer and penitence,” Pope Francis defrocked Karadima in 2018.
The cause of Karadima’s death is unknown, according to local radio station BioBio, despite the priest’s recent treatment for heart problems. Karadima’s death certificate, which said that he died on Sunday night, was shown on CNN Chile.
Karadima, who was a resident of a Chilean nursing facility, had consistently denied any misconduct. Because the statute of limitations had run out on the charges, he was not prosecuted.
The case plunged Chile’s Catholic Church into disarray, eviscerated its popularity, and prompted the investigation of hundreds of other accusations of child abuse by clergy.