Chilean sexual abuse victim testifies before Vatican investigator

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The key witness in the case of a Chilean bishop accused of covering sexual abuse said on Saturday he gave "eye opening" testimony to a papally mandated investigator and hoped it would lead to the truth.

Juan Carlos Cruz met in a church on Manhattan's Upper West Side for about four hours with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the most experienced and respected Vatican investigators of clergy sexual abuse.

"It's been a good experience and I leave here very hopeful today," he told reporters afterwards. "I feel that I was heard ... it was very intense and very detailed and very, sometimes, eye-opening for them."

"Hopefully it will lead to good things," he said.

The Vatican announced on Jan. 30 that Pope Francis had appointed Scicluna to look into accusations that Bishop Juan Barros of the diocese of Osorno in Chile had covered up crimes against minors.

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The next pope will prepare to engage the masses in his private office above St. Peter's Square.

The cardinals sleep and eat at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a residence in Vatican City, during the conclave process.

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Each day, they walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Sistine Chapel, where voting is conducted.

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The Swiss Guard, the world's smallest standing army, stocks its gear under the streets of Vatican City.

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Three restoration laboratories for marble, tapestries and paintings sit beneath the Vatican's museums and galleries.

Tapestries are rehabilitated in this immaculate white room.

This two-story underground bunker houses the secret archives.

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Also under St. Peter's basilica is the supposed tomb of St. Peter (i.e. the first pope).

The Room of Tears is where the new Pope will put on his white papal vestment for the first time.

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It was a dramatic U-turn for the pope, who eight days earlier told reporters aboard his plane returning from Latin America he was sure Barros was innocent and that the Vatican had received no concrete evidence against him.

"For the first time I feel that someone is listening," said Cruz, who now lives in Philadelphia and works for a large-multinational company in nearby Delaware.

"We'll see what the outcome is of all this, but I feel that Monsignor Scicluna is a very good man, and I think he was sincerely moved by what I was saying. He cried," Cruz said.

"He was hearing my testimony, and I was telling him about the abuse, about the cover up [and] the way survivors, not just me, are treated ... the personal toll it takes on someone. He was crying ... it wasn't an act ... I felt that he was concerned and that he was listening," Cruz said.

Scicluna declined to comment on the details of the testimony.

EMOTIONALLY DRAINED

As a teenager, Cruz was sexually abused by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing him and other teenage boys over many years. Karadima always denied the allegations.

The Vatican ordered him to follow a life of prayer and penitence and banned him from public ministry, but he avoided criminal prosecution because under Chilean law too much time had elapsed since the offences. The 87-year-old still lives in Chile.

Cruz says Barros witnessed the abuse by Karadima, who was Barros' mentor years ago in a Santiago parish. Barros has always denied this and said he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Karadima, who had trained him to become a priest.

The Karadima case has gripped Chile for years and many Chileans protested the pope's decision to make Barros a bishop in 2015. It cast a long shadow over the pope's trip to Chile last month.

Scicluna will travel to Chile on Tuesday to continue his investigation of Barros there.

Cruz said he was "emotionally drained" but felt empathy from Scicluna and another priest from the Vatican's doctrinal office in Rome who also took part in the meeting.

During his visit to Chile last month, the pope testily told a Chilean reporter: "The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. There is not a single piece of evidence against him. It is all slander. Is that clear?"

He later apologized to victims, acknowledging that his choice of words and tone of voice had "wounded many."

Cruz said all victims deserved to be heard with the same respect and treatment he received from Scicluna.

"The pope needs to understand that is what survivors need. Cases don't have to come to the media for them to pay attention," he said.

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VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 26: Pope Francis attends his general weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, on October 26, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Pope Francis wears a traditional Mexican sombrero hat received as a gift by a Mexican journalist on February 12, 2016, aboard the plane to Havana. Pope Francis headed to Cuba on Friday looking to heal a 1,000-year-old rift in Christianity before embarking on a tour of Mexico dominated by modern day problems of drug-related violence and migration. / AFP / POOL / ALESSANDRO DI MEO (Photo credit should read ALESSANDRO DI MEO/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Pope Francis (L) walk through the colonnade prior to an Oval Office meeting at the White House on September 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Pope begins his first trip to the United States at the White House followed by a visit to St. Matthew's Cathedral, and will then hold a Mass on the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Photo by Alex Wong/WHITE HOUSE POOL (ISP POOL IMAGES)/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Pope Francis gestures to his watch to apologize for not being able to greet everyone at the end of a midday prayer with US bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015 on the second day of his six-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 26: Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on November 26, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During today's General Audience Pope Francis told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JUNE 25: Pope Francis holds his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square on June 25, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. This will be the last Pope's weekly audience before the suspension of the event for the summer. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis matle blown by the wind covers his face as he leads the weekly general audience at St Peter's square on August 27, 2014 in Vatican City. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) wears a plastic poncho as he waves to well wishers after a mass in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - AUGUST 04: Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for an audience with thousands of altar servers from around Europe on August 4, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. The encounter was part of the ninth International Pilgrimage of Acolytes and Altar Servers. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
A pilgrim throws a blue hat in direction of Pope Francis (C) as he stands on the popemobile and waves to the crowd in St Peter's square for the 60th anniversary of the Comunione e Liberazione (Communion and Liberation) catholic mouvement on March 7, 2015 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A balloon flies past Pope Francis during his general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 29: Pope Francis kisses a little girl as he arrives at his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on January 29, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. After his appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, today Pontiff was also found to be represented in a graffiti in Rome that portrays him in a superhero vest. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: Pope Francis waves from the back of his Fiat after arriving from Cuba September 22, 2015 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Francis will be visiting Washington, New York City and Philadelphia during his first trip to the United States as pope. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis attends his general audience at St Peter's square on May 28, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
APARECIDA, BRAZIL - JULY 24: Pope Francis takes communion as he celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida on July 24, 2013 in Aparecida, Brazil. The shrine attracts millions each year and honors the dark-skinned Virgin of Aparecida, who is considered the patron saint of Brazil. Pilgrims throughout the world are joining Pope Francis for his visits to various locations in Brazil from July 22- July 28 during the Catholic Church's World Youth Day celebrations. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Pope Francis takes a sip of 'Mate', a traditional South American infused drink, with Argentinian soldiers of the United Nation during the weekly general audience at St Peter's square on February 3, 2016 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Pope Francis looks on as artists perform during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square on February 3, 2016 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - SEPTEMBER 16: The robes of Pope Francis are blown over his head by a gust of wind as he holds his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on September 16, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis on Wednesday appealed for prayers for his Apostolic Voyage to Cuba and to the United States, which begins on Saturday. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis reacts during the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pope Francis adjusts his mantle blown by a gust of wind as he leads the weekly audience is Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pope Francis smiles onboard the papal plane during his return to Rome, from Asuncion, Paraguay July 12, 2015. Pope Francis left for Rome on Sunday at the end of a trip to South America during which he censured capitalism, championed the rights of the poor, warned of irreversible damage to the planet and urged youths to "make a mess". Picture taken July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pope Francis reacts as he is greeted by cloistered nuns at the Duomo during his pastoral visit in Naples March 21, 2015 REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A gust of wind blows Pope Francis's skull cap off during his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Gentile TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pope Francis gestures during a meeting with Asian youths at the Solmoe Shrine in Dangjin August 15, 2014. The pope began his five-day trip to South Korea on Thursday. The main purpose of the trip is to preside at the gathering of Asian Catholic youth and beatify 124 people killed for their faith in the 18th century. REUTERS/Ahn Young-joon/Pool (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: RELIGION PROFILE POLITICS SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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