Controversy in Meta over the award of Grand Knight to former Archbishop of Villavicencio related to cases of sexual abuse

Monsignor Oscar Urbina Award

Despite the investigations that link him to cases of pederasty and cover-up, Monsignor Oscar Urbina was selected for a decoration by the deputy of the Assembly of Meta Ximena Calderón, apparently in recognition of his work.

“Today with a great feeling of affection and admiration, the @asambleameta delivers decoration Order of Democracy gold category – Grand Knight to Monsignor Emeritus Oscar Urbina and greets the Apostolic Administrator Monsignor Nelson Cardona,” Calderón said on his social networks on May 7.

Monsignor Oscar Urbina Award
Monsignor Oscar Urbina Award

The alleged decoration aroused outrage among the inhabitants of the department of Meta and other users of social networks who rejected that, while the priest is linked to investigations into cases of pederasty that he allegedly covered up, he should receive recognition for his work.

However, the president of the Assembly of Meta, José Manuel Sandoval, assured in the dialogue with the Blu Radio station that although there was a resolution to approve the award to Urbina, this has not been signed and therefore no acknowledgment has been accepted or given.

He assured that Calderón did raise the request, as appropriate by regulation, on the occasion of the “social and missionary work during his years of service in the Church and the department.” This was going to be reviewed and approved for his signature, but as a result of the controversy it was not delivered.

“You can’t, the reason, because of the questions. Here’s a benefit of the doubt, but also some questions for alleged cover-up of priests involved in cases of pederasty. We cannot ignore this despite the work of the monsignor,” Sandoval assured the station.

The deputy added that he received complaints from citizens and other priests who were dissatisfied with the announcement of the decoration, which allowed him to change his opinion regarding the protocol act that he now seeks to avoid so that it does not take place.

The priest was one of the main leaders of the church in Colombia, where he served as president of the Episcopal Conference and archbishop of Villavicencio, until last April when Pope Francis accepted his resignation, according to what the Apostolic Nunciature said at the time. for having reached the age of 75.

However, on November 23, 2021, the Prosecutor’s Office had summoned him to hear his version of the case of a person who was sexually abused from when she was a minor until after her 18th birthday by up to 38 priestyes Urbina would have received complaints about the case and did nothing.

According to the journalist Juan Pablo Barrientos, who has been the main journalistic investigator of the pederasty complaints in Colombia, Urbina aspired to be Archbishop of Bogotá and Bishop of Colombia, until the accusations of the case became known in 2020.

In addition, according to a report on the archbishop published in Vorágine magazine, one of the priests involved, Cristóbal de Jesús Puertas Hernández, who had a complaint in Miami for sexual abuse, was received in Villavicencio by Urbina.

Both would be close for several years, and even according to Barrientos’ research, it was their support that allowed the priest Cristóbal to pass through two archdioceses in the United States. There he was accused of repeatedly abusing a minor in complicity with another Latino priest.

Although other high officials have been older than 75 years, the Church continues to count on them for their experience, but in the case of Urbina, it was known that the resignation would be accepted so that it would come out in a decorous manner. For that reason and its possible ties to cover-up, his decoration caused a stir in the Meta.

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Controversy in Meta over the award of Grand Knight to former Archbishop of Villavicencio related to cases of sexual abuse