An Argentine woman who says she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a cleric in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires — where Pope Francis once served as the cardinal archbishop — said the pope ignored victims of sexual abuse while welcoming celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio with open arms.
“He receives all the celebrities, like Leonardo DiCaprio, and opens his door to them. And for us, not even a quick letter to say he was sorry,” one of the victims told an interviewer with the French news program Cash Investigation in 2017.
The woman was one of six individuals who said they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires and had written letters to Pope Francis — who was then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio — when he was head of the archdiocese to inform him of the abuses.
However, many of the victims said Bergoglio never responded to their complaints.
“I don’t expect anything from him; I don’t believe in him,” another female victim said.
“I suffered a lot and I’m very disappointed … Because the Pope did nothing when he was archbishop here. Everyone told me: ‘Write to him, he’s bound to reply.’ But nothing. I suffered, and now I’m very disappointed,” a third female victim said.
Even with these reports of sexual abuse in Francis’s diocese, the pope claimed in his 2010 book On Heaven and Earth that instances of sexual abuse by clergy members “never occurred in my diocese” and “in the diocese, it never happened to me.”
Around the same time the then-archbishop published his book, he commissioned a study calling victims of sexual abuse “false accusers,” claiming their accusations were just ways of projecting their own sexual desires onto accused priests.
As pope, Francis has not changed his views on victims of sexual abuse. The pope doubled down against those who accuse clergymen of sexual abuse during a homily Thursday morning, saying that those who accuse bishops of sexual abuse are like Satan, “the Great Accuser.”