Catholic order sent convicted pedophile priest to work among vulnerable children and families in Africa

A pedophile priest was sent to work for an aid organization helping vulnerable families in an African country, even though his Catholic order knew he had been convicted of abusing children years earlier in Europe, a new CNN investigation has found. Father Luk Delft, a 50-year-old Belgian priest, is accused of abusing at least two other boys in the Central African Republic (CAR) while in a key role at Caritas, a leading Catholic charity. This year-long investigation led by CNN’s senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir is part of a new hour-long documentary that exposes a cycle of clerical abuse in the Salesians of Don Bosco – a religious order within the Catholic Church that was established specifically to protect children – and is set to air on CNN International later this year. For years, the Salesians covered up Delft’s abuse, moving him from post to post, and sending him to work in some of the world’s most trouble places. Despite the allegations he faced, and being convicted of abuse, he was allowed to maintain a high profile – even receiving the sacrament at a service presided over by Pope Francis at the Vatican this year. Delft’s case also raises serious questions about the vetting process at one of the world’s largest Catholic non-governmental organization (NGO) networks, and comes as the church struggles to turn the page on decades of sexual abuse scandals involving members of the clergy. Alban Alain, now 17, and his family told CNN that Delft repeatedly sexually abused the teenager when they met at a camp for internally displaced people in Kaga-Bandoro, CAR, four years ago. “It’s a horrible thing that he did to me,” Alban, who was 13 when the alleged abuse began, told CNN. “What he did to my son is not normal,” Onono Alain, the boy’s father, told CNN. “He was brought here as Director of Caritas and he was entrusted with distributing aid. But instead he took advantage of his position to sodomize my son.” When CNN confronted Delft at his Caritas office in Bangui, CAR about the abuse, he was unapologetic. Caught off-guard, he broke off from his meeting as he spotted CNN’s camera, stood up and attempted to lead us out of the room, saying: “No, no, no.” Following CNN’s investigation Delft was recalled to Belgium, where he is now – according to the Salesians – “under supervision.” Law enforcement and church authorities in Belgium have begun investigations into Delft, based on CNN’s findings, and said they could not comment on whether or not he will face prosecution or punishment for his alleged actions in the CAR because their inquiries are ongoing. Read the full story here: