Two Catholic priests were sentenced to more than 40 years in prison for the repeated sexual abuse of kids at a school for the deaf in Argentina, all but wrapping up a scandal that implicated Pope Francis himself.
A court gave Nicola Corradi 42 years and Horacio Corbacho 45 years on dozens of counts of sexual abuse and corruption of minors. The gardener at the school, the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children, also got 18 years in prison, although the verdicts can be appealed, according to the Guardian.
Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and Corbacho, a 59-year-old Argentine, were arrested in 2016…
The judges found the men guilty of 20 counts of abuse, including rape, that occurred between 2005 and 2016 at the school, which has since shut down. The 10 victims were former students and all minors at the time of the abuse.
We first covered the story a year ago, when the investigation was in its earliest stages, and it was first coming out that Pope Francis may have knowingly shielded the abusers from justice by shuffling them between dioceses in his days as a cardinal. The case also included allegations from a sister school in Italy.
Now, some of those abusers who may have been protected by Francis have been sentenced. And activists are rightfully celebrating.
After the sentence was delivered, several of the victims expressed their joy in the courthouse hallway by jumping and raising their arms in the air, as if they were clapping. They also embraced the prosecutors who had investigated their cases.
“I am happy, thank you so much for the battle, because everyone has supported us … This has changed my life, which is evolving,” said Vanina Garay, 26.
Considering how few victims of Catholic clergy abuse ever see their day in court, let alone actual justice, you can understand their reactions. The question now becomes: Will the pope be held accountable as well?
“The Argentine court has given the traumatized children of Provolo a measure of justice that the Catholic church failed to give them,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-founder of the online research database BishopAccountability.org, to the Associated Press…
Doyle also said that “the pope too must accept responsibility for the unimaginable suffering of these children. He ignored repeated warnings that Corradi was in Argentina.”
Pope Francis has not commented publicly on the case, though in 2017, the Vatican sent two Argentine priests to investigate what happened in Mendoza.
The men have been found guilty and sentenced for their crimes. Pope Francis shouldn’t be able to walk away from his part in all this by the sheer virtue of his promotion.
(Image via Shutterstock)