Local August 30, 2013 | 7:39 am

Constanza shocked by abuse allegations

Santo Domingo.-Community members in Constanza are expressing shock and disbelief at the sexual abuse allegations against Father Juan Manuel Mota de Jesús (Johnny). The priest is being accused of seducing and raping 11 underage girls as well as women, after some of the victims filed accusations at the Santiago Prosecutor’sOffice.

The thelatest in a series of scandals affecting the religious authorities following a large number of pedophiliacases that have come to light in recent months.

A press conferencewas held at the offices of the Ministry for Women’s Affairs yesterday afternoon,where interim office coordinator Juana María Castillo confirmed that they hadreceived three specific reports of rape of minors by the Catholic priest and chaplainwho is originally from Cotuí and has served as the parish priest for the last11 years.

The official saidthat they had spent seven months investigating these accusations and that thecase had entered a new phase since the public disclosure.

During the pressconference, journalist Nereyda Félix said that the information had been madepublic due to the seriousness of the accusations and to prevent the cases from remainingunpunished, explaining that the influence exercised by the Catholic priest whohas created a strong social base in this area led to fears that he might evadejustice.