Papa Lugo

One of the women may allegedly have been about 16, when Lugo began sexual relations with her. Further, it appears Lugo at first tried to deny one boy was his until threats of a lawsuit led him to admit paternity.

A Paraguayan Opus Dei bishop has accused church officials of a cover-up, saying they had known for years about allegations against Lugo but had stayed silent. On Tuesday, angry Paraguayan journalists protested outside the Government Palace that their usual Thursday news conference was put off to today.

Lugo arrived at Piarco International Airport for the summit last Friday and was warmly greeted by Health Minister Jerry Narace and Public Administration Minister Kennedy Swaratsingh, who is also a priest-turned-politician.

During his stay until last Sunday, Lugo cut an undistinguished figure who did not address the opening ceremony, the final media conference or any individual news conference unlike some of his peers.

He arrived in Trinidad under a cloud with one Paraguayan woman, on April 13 alleging his paternity of her child, but after leaving Trinidad on Sunday, he met a second paternity-claim in Paraguay on Monday. Yesterday, yet another woman claimed Lugo had fathered her child.

Allegations are that Lugo fathered a two-year-old son called Fernando with Viviana Carrillo, 26; a seven-year-old son named Lucas with Benigna Leguizamon and a 16-month-old son named John Paul, with a 39-year-old divorcee, Damiana Amarilla, who runs a child-care centre. The women were said to have been members of Lugo’s flock.

Lugo admitted paternity for Fernando but has not yet commented on the other claims, although he has cancelled a visit to Washington DC due tomorrow, the BBC News reported.

Days before coming to Trinidad, Lugo shocked many as he backtracked on his previous denials and admitted to fathering Carrillo’s child, in light of a paternity suit by Carrillo.

Lugo said: “Before my people, before my conscience and as a show of respect to everyone who has trusted me, I express with the utmost honesty, transparency and sense of duty that the relationship with Viviana Carrillo took place. I take on all the responsibility, admitting fatherhood to the child.”

But at first Lugo denied the claim. ABC News reports Carrillo’s cousin Water Acosta, who is also her lawyer, saying: “He was so arrogant that he accused us of trying to attack him and dared us to proceed, saying through his legal representative that ‘Nobody will believe you’.”

Paraguayan Opposition Senator, Lilian Samaniego, according to Merco Press, has vowed to file a “ravish claim” against Lugo, apparently meaning a complaint against alleged sexual relations with a possible then-minor, Ms Carrillo.

Bishop Rogelio Livieres claimed the then Paraguayan Papal Nuncio between 2002 and 2004 received written complaints from several women that Lugo fathered their children. Livieres told Merco Press that Lugo was summoned to the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, where he got a serious reprimand. Livieres, who is reportedly a vocal critic of Lugo, said the Roman Catholic Church has the names of several women involved. “It was well known, vast sectors of the community knew about it, obviously in San Pedro where he was the bishop. The church failed in not having acted more sternly with him. It was somehow a cover-up,” said Livieres.

Saying Lugo ran on a campaign of honesty, Livieres called for him to resign.

The New York Times is alleging the Paraguyan church allowed Lugo to resign as bishop without making the women’s complaints public, so easing his bid for the presidency.

However, the paper is also reporting the Paraguayan Bishops Conference said it had never received “formal written complaints” from women about Lugo, as it rejected claims of a cover-up.

Lugo was ordained a priest in 1977, and was a bishop from 1994 to 2008 when he was known as “The bishop of the poor.”

Many concessions were made for Lugo to become president. Article 235 of the Paraguay constitution bans religious ministers from holding elected office and Pope Benedict XVI had at first rejected his plea to be released from his bishopric to run as president.

But after Lugo won the April 20, 2008 election, Rome agreed to release him from the vows of a bishop.


"Papa Lugo"

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