Priests abused at least 22 children
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP):
At least 22 children were sexually abused by two priests at a school for youths with hearing disabilities in Argentina, an investigating prosecutor said Monday.
Police arrested 82-year-old priest Nicola Corradi, 55-year-old priest Horacio Corbacho, and three other men last week. They are accused of sexual and physical child abuse at the Antonio Provolo Institute in northwestern Mendoza province. Authorities said the alleged victims are now in their 20s.
The accused have been assigned a public defender and are being held at a jail in Mendoza. They have not spoken publicly since their arrest.
Corradi earlier had been accused in Italy of sexually abusing students at the Provolo Institute in Verona, a notorious school for the deaf where hundreds of children are believed to have been sexually assaulted over the years by two dozen priests and religious brothers.
Advocates for clerical sex abuse have expressed anger that he was not sanctioned by the Vatican and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis' native Argentina.
Argentine authorities said last week that at least eight children had been abused at the school in Mendoza, but then raised the number to at least 22 after survivors provided testimony through an interpreter.
A raid on the school found pornographic magazines, videos and about US$34,000 in Corradi's room, officials said.
"This is a really serious case with irreparable consequences, especially mental and spiritual, for people who are doubly vulnerable, not just because of their age, but also their lack of communication," said Mendoza Supreme Court prosecutor Alejandro Gulle.
If found guilty, the accused could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.