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March 10, 2010
More abuse allegations against Legionaries’ founder surface in Mexico
MEXICO CITY (CNS)—Many in Mexico—and beyond—know Father Marcial Maciel as the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, an influential Catholic order famed for its elite schools and well-heeled followers.
Blanca Estela Lara Gutierrez came to know him in Tijuana by the alias, “Raul Rivas,” who, she said, “wanted to have a family” and, at various times, masqueraded as either a private detective or a CIA agent.
Her three sons, Jose Raul, Omar and Cristian, came to know Father Maciel as “Dad.” On March 3, the family went public with unflattering details of their life with Father Maciel. Lara told Mexico City radio host Carmen Aristegui of MVS Radio that she and Father Maciel were a couple for some 25 years and raised three sons—one of whom, Cristian, was not his biological child. Jose Raul and Omar, meanwhile, tearfully said they had been sexually abused by their dad, Father Maciel.
The allegations threaten to further cloud the legacy of Father Maciel, who founded one of the most successful Catholic orders of the 20th century and gained enormous respect among Catholics worldwide, but lived a double life in violation of Church teaching. After an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Father Maciel, the Vatican in May 2006 ordered him to stop practicing his ministry in public and live a life of prayer and penitence. Father Maciel died in January 2008 at age 87.