Buenos Aires Province Attorney General Julio Conte Grand and Prosecutor María Soledad Garibaldi held a press conference yesterday to provide the latest updates on the investigation into the sex abuse ring targeting children playing for the Independiente football club academy, which is completely dominating the news cycle.
Among their most relevant statements were affirmations that they’re investigating 10 new cases of children who may have been abused by adults; that they don’t rule out the possibility the number will increase with time; that there is another suspect who could arrested shortly; and that, at least for now, they have not unveiled the existence of a criminal organization, but rather “several people who interacted by sharing information” regarding vulnerable youngsters who they could target.
Conte Grand and Garibaldi also clarified that no “media personality” is currently being investigated, thus rebuking the explosive statements made by TV personality and radio host Natacha Jaitt on Mirtha Legrand’s TV show last Saturday. “They have been unfairly mentioned,” said Conte Grand. “If, at some point, a person who is not currently involved starts to be, you will officially hear it through us,” he added.
During the conference, Garibaldi, who is in charge of the investigation, said she is going to call two people to testify. “A man and a woman who have said things. A man who said this has been happening for a long time, and a woman who said many people were involved in the events. They have the obligation to testify and tell the truth,” she commented.
Although she did not mention their names, all indicators point at their being former Independiente player Daniel Bertoni – who said exactly that a week ago after the scandal erupted – and Jaitt.
On Mirtha Legrand’s TV show last Saturday, Jaitt accused a series of journalists, actors, and other high-profile Argentine personalities of participating in the pedophile ring, most of them as clients. Jaitt’s shocking statements on the show were universally condemned by the media, especially as she dropped name after name on live television, without providing viewers or the host any concrete evidence to support her claims.
This didn’t stop Jaitt, though, who doubled down on her claims and warned on Twitter on Tuesday that she would go to court and provide investigators with all the evidence they need. However, she went to the federal courthouses of Comodoro Py and when she was requested to present the evidence she had claimed to have, she then said she’d been tricked into going – she then told press she went there thinking she was going to testify in another case – and stormed out of the building.
It is unclear why she would have had to present the evidence in Comodoro Py, rather than to Garibaldi. Nonetheless, she will now have to appear before the prosecutor and tell her what she knows, or refuse to testify. A date has not been set.
Returning to yesterday’s events, Conte Grand also informed they will continue to hold press conferences on a regular basis to provide further updates. “Anything that is not informed by the prosecutor’s office is [considered] untruthful information,” he said.
Finally, the Attorney General also said that the alleged abuses that took place in River Plate’s football club, and the accusation against Alejandro Sagreras, who until last month worked coordinating the coaches of the different national gymnastics teams, are not connected with the case they are investigating.