A Catholic bishop was filmed on a beach with a scantily-clad blonde after he denied that it was him in the video, but now has claimed she is just ‘an old friend’ and insisted he is still ‘devoted to God.’
Argentine Fernando María Bargallo, 59, was left red-faced after footage emerged of him swimming and cuddling with the blonde at a secluded luxury Mexican hideaway.
He initially denied it was him in the video, but later admitted he does play a starring role, and is now under investigation by the Vatican.
He could now face being sacked from his post as Bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Merlo-Moreno, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
Bargallo said he recognized the recklessness of his behaviour and the ambiguity of the film, which he claimed was taken in 2011.
But he has insisted that the woman was a “very old friend” who he has known “since I could reason.”
“The photographs are, in effect, from an encounter in Mexico where I coincided for various reasons, two years ago, with a friend from my childhood,” he said.
He said there were other people there, who did not appear in the images, and he had a strong relationship with the woman’s family, La Nacion reported.
But he has not responded to questions as to who funded the lavish trip to the Puerto Vallarta resort on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Bargallo is also head of the Cáritas Latinoamérica organization which helps the development of impoverished people across the continent.