- Father Corbacho, 59, was sentenced to 45 years in prison, while his Italian counterpart, Father Corradi, 83, was sentenced to 42 years.
- In addition to the two priests, the institution's gardener, Armando Gómez, was also sentenced to 18 years in prison.
- "You have no idea how important this is for us, and for the world," said factory worker Ariel Lizárraga, the father of one of the victims.
An Argentine court has sentenced two catholic priests, Nicola Corradi and Horacio Corbacho, to more than 40 years in prison for sexually abusing deaf children at the Próvolo educational institute in Mendoza province.
Father Corbacho, 59, was sentenced to 45 years in prison, while his Italian counterpart, Father Corradi, 83, was sentenced to 42 years. In both cases, it was considered aggravating that the perpetrators were responsible for the custody of the underage victims and lived with them in the boarding school, but they turned out to be “beasts.”
In addition to the two priests, the institution’s gardener, Armando Gómez, was also sentenced to 18 years in prison for “sexual abuse with carnal access.” Instituto Próvolo is dedicated to teaching children with hearing impairment or communication disorders and is considered one of the best institutions for the same in that area.
The victims, their friends, and family members wildly cheered as they celebrated the decision of the judges. “You have no idea how important this is for us, and for the world,” factory worker Ariel Lizárraga, the father of one of the victims, told the Washington Post. “The church has been trying to hide these abuses. But these priests raped and abused our children. Our deaf children! Today, the taboo against accusing priests stops here,” he said.
The case against Corbacho, Corradi, and Gomez was initiated on 5 August. Most hearings were held behind closed doors. The victims of the abuse were deaf children aged between four and 17 years old. The court considered 25 cases of abuse committed between 2004 and 2016 and listened to the testimonies of 13 victims, gathered in hearings with psychologists, without the minors knowing they were being heard by a judge.
Despite celebrating the outcome of the trial, regrets still linger that other cases could not go ahead because of what is considered as a covert action by the Catholic Church. A lawyer for the victims, Sergio Salinas, has implored the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, to “make a public apology,” and accused the church of hiding some of the perpetrators by denying the prosecutors adequate information.
“The Church has not acted honorably in this case,” Mr. Salinas said on Monday, in an interview. “It hasn’t just failed to give evidence, it has hidden information,” Mr. Salinas lamented. “It has failed to recognize the facts and has mocked the victims by not recognizing them as such and saying that their testimony is unbelievable.”
The Catholic Church has been shaken in recent years by hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by priests in countries such as Mexico, the United States, Chile, and Australia. In March 2019, Australian Cardinal George Pell became the highest clergyman to be convicted of sex crimes.