A Roman Catholic nun has been charged on suspicion of helping priests sexually abuse deaf children, Argentinean authorities have said.
Kosaka Kumiko was also charged with physically abusing the students at the Antonio Provolo Institute for children with hearing impairment in northwestern Mendoza province.
The 42-year-old nun, who was born in Japan but has Argentine citizenship, denied any wrongdoing
Kumiko lived at the school between 2004 and 2012, according to authorities. She had been on the run for about a month before she turned herself in this week.
A former student accused the nun of forcing her to wear a diaper to conceal bleeding after she was allegedly raped by priest Horacio Corbacho, prompting police to investigate.
Corbacho, fellow priest Nicola Corradi and three other men were arrested last year after they were charged with sexually abusing at least two dozen students at the school.
They are being held at a jail in Mendoza and have not spoken publicly since the arrest. If found guilty, the accused face 10 to 50 years in prison.
Victims and prosecutors say anal and vaginal rapes, fondling and oral sex were allegedly committed by the priests in the bathrooms, dormitories, garden and a basement at the school in Lujan de Cuyo, a city about 620 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.
A Vatican investigative commission recently visited Mendoza to learn more about the case against the priests.
Incidentally, the current current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is also from Argentina. Francis is the first Jesuit pope and the first Pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.
Pope Francis may be ‘backsliding’ on paedophile priest crackdown, senior Catholic official warns
A senior Australian Catholic official has warned that Pope Francis may be “backsliding” in his crackdown on paedophile priests in the face of an intransigent Vatican establishment.
Francis Sullivan, who is in charge of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, said he feared the Vatican’s “bureaucrats and courtiers [were] doing all they can to either undermine the Pope or driving an agenda” of protecting the institution, according to Australian Associated Press (AAP).
In 2014 the Pope ordered a “zero-tolerance” stance on members of the clergy who abused children. Before that the church had been criticised by the UN for the frequency with which allegedly abusive priests were moved to different areas rather than turned over to police.
Mr Sullivan also pointed to the resignation from the Vatican’s child protection commission of campaigner and abuse survivor Marie Collins, who had accused the institution of a “shameful lack of cooperation”, as evidence of a culture of self-preservation, the AAP reported.
Mr Sullivan said: “You have to seriously wonder whether this isn’t the Pope backsliding on what has been a strong and determined crackdown on offending priests and the circumstances that allowed abuse to take place.”
In May last year Pope Francis called the abuse of children “a tragedy” and said: “We must protect our minors and severely punish abusers.”
According to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, 7 per cent of Catholic priests were accused of crimes in relation to children between 1950 and 2010.
But few cases were ever investigated. Responding to the findings in February, Mr Sullivan said they were “shocking” and “indefensible”.
Data compiled by the Council showed 1,265 Catholic priests, brothers and nuns had been accused in the period.
The Commission – Australia’s highest form of public inquiry – is also investigating abuse at non-religious institutions, including schools and sports clubs. It began in 2013 and has heard hours of harrowing testimony from alleged victims.
Its research showed that 4,444 people had made allegations of abuse to 93 Catholic authorities between 1980 and 2015.
The church in India too has seen a large number of cases involving sexual abuse by Christian clergy and within Christian educational institutions. In one such recent case, Robin Vaddakumchiryil (48), a vicar of St Sebastian church (Syro-Malabar Catholic) in Kottiyoor, Kerala was arrested for rape of a minor which led to her pregnancy. At least two nuns were arrested as co-accused for helping ‘Father’ Robin cover up the crime.
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