Bishop Carlos Belo, 2013 in East Timor
Photo: Firdia Lisnawati/AP
The Vatican has confirmed disciplinary action against a Nobel Peace Prize-winning bishop for allegedly sexually abusing underage boys in East Timor over a 20-year period.
The case of Bishop Carlos Belo was first investigated by the Vatican in 2019, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Thursday after Belo was publicly accused of abusing young people and buying their silence.
"In light of the allegations" received by the Vatican, "certain disciplinary restrictions were imposed on Belo in September 2020," Bruni explained.
"These included restrictions on his freedom of movement and the exercise of his duties, bans on voluntary contact with minors, interviews and contacts" with East Timor, Bruni added.
These measures were "modified and tightened" in 2021.
On Wednesday, the Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer published investigations alleging that Belo had been accused of abusing teenagers from the 1980s to 2000.
Together with the current President José Ramos-Horta, Belo received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his commitment to human rights during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony.
Belo submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II in 2002, citing health reasons.