Priest defrocked in Chile pedophile case

Chile's Roman Catholic Church said Friday it has defrocked a priest after finding him guilty of sexually abusing three minors.

A church tribunal found that Rene Benavides committed the abuse while serving as a priest in the city of Los Andes in the 1990s.

"The tribunal has imposed on the priest the perpetual punishment of expulsion from the clerical state, which is the maximum sanction available under church law," the Chilean church said in a statement.

About 20 priests have been accused of sexual abuse of minors in Chile, about half of whom have been convicted in civilian courts and the rest tried under church law.