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Priest accused of sexual abuse arrested trying to leave Costa Rica

March 21, 2019

A Costa Rican Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor was arrested Thursday as he tried to leave the country by land to Panama, the prosecutor’s office said.

The priest was arrested at the border post of Paso Canoas, the main border crossing with Panama, when trying to leave the country, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

“The Deputy Prosecutor for Gender Affairs confirmed the arrest of a priest with last name Morales Salazar in Paso Canoas, when he was trying to leave the country,” the institution said in a brief statement.

The statement added that “Salazar is being investigated as a suspect in committing an alleged sex crime, so he will be transferred to San José, where a preliminary statement will be taken, and the request for precautionary measures will be assessed later.”

The case of the priest Jorge Arturo Morales Salazar came to light recently when Semanario Universidad published the testimony of Fabian Arguedas, 27, a student who said he had suffered abuses by the priest throughout two years during his adolescence.

His parents submitted a complaint to hierarchy of the Catholic Church, according to the story. On Friday of last week, Arguedas went to the prosecutor’s office to file a criminal complaint against Salazar.

Under Costa Rican law, allegations of sexual abuse of minors expire 10 years after the victim reaches 18 years of age.

Arguedas will reach that age in next December.


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