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If a priest breaks the law, he will be prosecuted

We asked the Attorney General, Mike Peyrefitte if the various religious institutions should inform the country regarding allegations made about members of the clergy before shipping them to Belize. He said the church’s decision to recall Father Smalls has nothing to do with the government. But if a priest breaks the law, he will be prosecuted.

Jose Sanchez: “In light of the Richmondville Bishop releasing members of their clergy who have had sexual allegations against them including the Father Oliver Smalls situation. Should we have legislation regarding churches that they release whatever misconduct that has been made against their members before shipping him off to Belize. “

Attorney General: “You want me to quarrel with the church again? Listen a crime is a crime is a crime. It doesn’t matter who has committed it whether it is a priest or whether it is whoever within any organization. When you commit a crime in Belize you commit a crime as far as the state is concerned against the people of Belize and it doesn’t matter however we can’t just speculate and just require the revelation of records that we have nothing to do with. The question would be did this alleged crime occur in Belize. If it did not occur in Belize then fortunately for us it is not within our jurisdiction and whatever the church decides to do with one of their priests that is the church’s decision, that does not have anything to do with the Government.

Reporter: “Nonetheless in a system where there is the church and the state and kids are exposed to some of these priests because of the church state system, would the Government be in a position?”

Attorney General: “Absolutely! If we have evidence that any priest has assaulted any minor in this country it would not matter if it is a priest. A crime is a crime. It doesn’t matter who commits it. We would go after anybody who committed any crime. However like everybody else we can’t just recklessly and irresponsibly cast aspersions on people for who we have no evidence of anyone committing any crime but I assure you if anybody including your priest was to commit a crime of any kind inside of this country it wouldn’t matter that that person is a priest.”