On Saturday, Chilean newspaper La Tercera reported that the Chilean Court of Appeal ordered the office of Santiago's Archibishop to pay 450 million pesos or $650,000 to the three men who were allegedly sexually abused for decades by expelled Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.
Citing a copy of a leaked judgement from the court, the newspaper said that the three judges who heard the case on Thursday found in favor of an appeal for "moral damages" against the church for allegedly covering up Karadima's crimes. Originally, the case was rejected by a lower court for the lack of evidence.
Although the report of La Tercera is not yet verified, The Santiago Archbishopric has said it will be considering the next step they could take regarding the case. Should the court confirms the report on Monday, it will be the first damages order that would be ordered against the Roman Catholic Church for the scandal that has rocked it to the core and prompted Pope Francis to make an official apology. It is also expected to put forward new claims and additional investigations over the issue.
In a statement, claimants James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz and Jose Andres Murillo - who all met Pope Francis earlier this year in Rome - said that the verdict woudl be the culmination of a "journey that was long and painful, but worth it."
"We are witnessing an important cultural shift, in which the abuses of the powerful are beginning to be seen as unacceptable, and Justice is confirming that."
Karadima worked for the Santiago Archbishopric as the parish priest of El Bosque for 21 years between 1985 to 2006. He was the mentor of many bishops in Chile, including several cardinals. Karadima has always denied the accusations given against him and he was not charged by civilian authorities because of the statue of limitations on sex-related cases has expired. However, he was found guilty in 2011 by a Vatican investigation and has been defrocked by the Pope last month.