It’s a still a very dark time for the Catholic church in Argentina and around the world. Last month, two nuns reported a Colombian priest in the province of Entre Rios for multiple cases of abuse, and more recently two priests have been suspended in Rio Gallegos for the same reason. Over this past weekend, the Catholic Church was at the center of yet another horrific story as two more priests, Nicolás Corradi, 82 years-old, and Horacio Corbacho, 55 years-old, have been arrested in Mendoza under charges of sexually abusing minors at the Antonio Provolo school for children with hearing disabilities, where the priests were employed.
Prosecutor Fabricio Sidoti who is in charge of the investigation revealed the horrific details of the case. “In their accounts, the children said that they [the priests] would take them to the house of God, a place within the school, where they would leave them and the victims could see what was happening through the cracks in the door,” Sidoti told Radio Nihuil.
The victims “would see everything that the priests did – penetrative and oral sex” according to the prosecutor, who added that the revelations were made by “witnesses who were also direct victims”. The children who came forward as witnesses, Sidoti clarified, eventually revealed that “they too were victims”.
The victims whom Sidoti was speaking about were children, 10 to 12 years-old, who were both deaf and unable to speak. The added degree of vulnerability makes the Church’s lapse in protection all the more troubling.
Just as horrifying as the nature of the priests’ crimes is the fact that one of the priests, Corradi, was convicted of similar crimes in Italy some thirty years ago. The horrific revelations coming to light in Mendoza are a troubling indictment of the Church’s former deplorable policy of shipping off priest’s accused of sexual abuse to a distant part of the world to avoid scandal.
Since several such cases have come to light in recent years, the Church has had to create a more defined policy as to how to deal with cases of abuse. But the repercussions from its negligent attitude towards child abuse in the past are still being felt to this day. The overwhelming sense on the ground is that Corradi should never have been allowed to work with children again after what happened decades ago in Italy. Questions are now mounting against the Church as to how he came into his position in Mendoza.
The archbishop of Mendoza has denied that he knew anything about the dark past of Corradi. And he clarified that he has no direct responsibility with regards to the Italian priest who belongs of the congregation of Verona, where he committed his past crimes. The cries of outrage from Argentina will now wait for a response from the Vatican.