Peruvian priest resigns over paternity suit

By Rachel Chase

Military bishop fathered a child with woman he met through church.

Peruvian priest resigns over paternity suit

(Photo: El Comercio)

Guillermo Martín Abanto Guzmán, formerly bishop of Peru’s military ordinariate, has resigned his charge over a court order that he recognize the paternity of a child born in 2011.

According to Peru21, Abanto Guzmán (then 49) met 26-year-old Alexandra Daniela de la Lama Luna in 2009 when she sought out spiritual help in the wake of personal turmoil. Their relationship deepened over time, and Abanto Guzmán even visited the young woman’s house on several occasions. In 2011, De la Lama gave birth to a baby girl. Peru21 reports that Abanto Guzmán did not recognize the girl as his daughter at the time, in order to avoid creating a scandal; sources indicated to Peru21 that this action may have been taken with the consent of De la Lama.

Then in June of this year, De la Lama took Abanto Guzmán to court to demand that he recognize the paternity of the child. In July, Abanto Guzmán resigned his post as bishop, and now the court has ordered that he recognize De la Lama’s child as his daughter.

Peru21 reports that church authorities learned of the case, but were assured by Abanto Guzmán that his relationship with De la Lama was only sexual, and did not constitute a sentimental relationship. Investigative news program Punto Final also reported last week that the church had previously offered De la Lama a pension for her daughter if she agreed to keep quiet about the case.

Speaking about the case to the press, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, Archbishop of Lima, said “Every person has to face up to his weaknesses like a man, and has to know when to admit that they’ve made a mistake. We’re not hiding anything […] Zero tolerance about these issues. I offer my solidarity with the honor of those affected, especially the innocent little girl, who deserves to be recognized by her father.”

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