Cult leader gets 20-year sentence


May 25, 2006, 21:58 GMT

SANTIAGO, Chile (UPI) -- Chile has sentenced a former religious cult leader convicted of sexually abusing children to 20 years in prison, El Mercurio reported Thursday.

Paul Schafer was first arrested in March 2005 and charged with child molestation. Authorities also discovered on the premise of his compound, Colonia Dignidad, a secret cache of weapons.

Last year, Schafer was shipped to Chile from Argentina, where he was living, to face charges he molested more than two dozen children.

The cult leader reportedly joined the isolated Chilean community in 1961 and became its leader. According to some former residents, sexual abuse and torture of political prisoners during Chile`s military dictatorship (1973-91) were regular practices at Colonia Dignidad.