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OFFICIAL COMMUNIQUE OF THE BISHOP OF CARTAGENA 07/23/2019 (23/07/2019)

The Bishopric of Cartagena reports:

1. That, today, July 23, 2019, the Bishop of the Diocese of Cartagena, Mons. José Manuel Lorca Planes, has informed the Office of the Prosecutor of the Region of Murcia the denunciation of alleged sexual abuse of a minor committed by the priest Antonio Lax Zapata, until last Sunday, pastor of San Juan Bautista de Yecla and chaplain of the Virgen del Castillo Hospital in the same town.

2. After hearing the alleged facts, at the beginning of this month of July, the Bishop ordered the Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Cartagena to initiate the mandatory prior investigation (c.1717) to clarify them.

3. Until the clarification of these facts, without undermining the right to the presumption of innocence of the priest, the Bishop has temporarily removed him from his pastoral responsibilities.

4. Regardless of whether these alleged facts are being investigated in the canonical jurisdiction, the Diocese of Cartagena will always act against these execrable crimes in accordance with the provisions of article 13.4 of the Law on the Legal Protection of Minors and in accordance with the policy of cooperation with the state jurisdiction required by Pope Francis and which is reflected in article 19 of his last Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

5. Reiterating his "zero tolerance" in this type of behavior, Bishop Lorca Planes, in communion with Pope Francis, states that the Diocese of Cartagena will continue to take the necessary measures to address these complaints.

6. Mons. Lorca Planes asks the entire diocesan Church to join in prayer so that the facts are clarified and the truth always prevails.

Source: Obispado de Cartagena

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