Two priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in Argentina for the sexual abuse of deaf children, a court in the western city of Mendoza ruled yesterday. Source: SBS News.
Argentine priest Fr Horacio Corbacho was sentenced to 45 years in jail, while a 42-year sentence was imposed on Italian Fr Nicola Corradi for the abuse of some 20 children at the Provolo Institute for deaf and hearing-impaired children between 2004 and 2016.
The court said the sentences took into account the aggravating circumstances that the priests were responsible for the children’s wellbeing, as well as the fact that the victims were minors living at the boarding school.
The school’s gardener, Armando Gomez, was jailed for 18 years for sexual abuse.
Neither of the three defendants made any response when their sentences were read out.
Outside the court a group of young people waited for the ruling, holding up banners which said “Support for the Survivors of Provolo”. Some burst into wild celebrations when the sentence was read out in court. Some of the victims’ mothers simply embraced and wept.
Fr Corbacho, 59, and 83-year-old Fr Corradi had been held in preventive detention since their arrest three years ago on charges of child sex abuse at the school.
Apart from the gardener, several other staff at the school were taken into custody after the allegations of abuse first came to light in 2016, and the institute, 1000 kilometres west of Buenos Aires, was shut down.
They included a 42-year-old Japanese nun, Sr Kosaka Kumiko, who was charged with complicity with the two priests.
The trial began on August 5 and heard evidence from 13 victims from the institute during in-camera hearings.
In a fast-tracked trial last year, a former altar boy, Jorge Bordon, 50, received a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to the sexual abuse of five children.
Another of the defendants was deemed mentally incompetent by the court for being disabled and having suffered sexual abuse himself as a child. Fourteen more defendants are facing trial in two other separate cases involving the school.