Ex-priest sentenced to 20 years in Costa Rica for abuse

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — A Costa Rican court on Wednesday sentenced a former priest to 20 years in prison for a 2003 sexual abuse case.

The country’s judicial branch said in a statement that ex-priest Mauricio Víquez had used his position as a priest to sexually abuse at least one teenager in 2003, and possibly two.

“The prosecution proved that Viquez abused his position of power and authority, his status as a priest and the confidence the victim had in him to carry out sexual attacks against the victim,” according to the statement.

The sentence can be appealed.

Víquez was extradited back from Mexico in 2021 after he fled in 2018 from Costa Rica, where the statute of limitations had been running out on abuse charges facing him.

In 2003 in Costa Rica, such charges generally couldn’t be pursued 10 years after a complainant’s 18th birthday.

The case led Costa Rica to lengthen the statute of limitations on sex crimes from 10 to 25 years.

Viquez was expelled from the priesthood by the Roman Catholic Church in 2019. There are other abuse accusations against him.

In 2019, the case of Viquez and another priest led to a police raid on Roman Catholic church offices in San Jose, the capital.

The raids on offices of the metropolitan curia and the national bishop’s conference were broadcast live on television, which showed officers from the judiciary’s investigation bureau taking documents and computers from two buildings in the center of San Jose.

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