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Sex Scandal Comes Closer To Francis

Don Eligio Piccoli, retired priest and confessed serial molester of deaf children (fanpage.it screenshot)

Finally some good news: an Argentine court does what the Argentine pope did not: hold sexually abusive priests accountable:

An Argentine court on Monday found two priests and a lay worker guilty of the sexual abuse of 10 former students of a Catholic school for the deaf, the first legal victory for a community of victims stretching from Italy to the Andes whose complaints about one of the clerics to church officials, including Pope Francis, went unheeded for years.

The verdict was another stain on the church’s handling of sex abuse cases in Francis’s native Argentina. Prosecutors last week requested an arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a longtime associate of the pope accused of abusing two seminarians.

A Washington Post investigation this year found years of church inaction in the case of at least one of the priests convicted Monday in the abuse of male and female students at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the western Argentine city of Luján de Cuyo between 2004 and 2016.

The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse.

If you can stand it — these testimonies are strong stuff — here is a video report about the abuses of the deaf and mute children, both in Verona and in the sister school in Argentina. It features adults telling specifically what was done to them as children by their abusers (trigger warning). If you want to see the true face of evil, go to just before the 2:00 mark and watch the bedside hidden camera interview of a priest called Don Eligio Piccoli, identified by the abuse survivors as one of their attackers. He is bedridden and living in a church home — a church investigation found him guilty of the abuse, and sentenced him to prayer and penance — but apparently in his right mind. He admits that the stories of sodomy and sexual abuse are true, but he laughs about them and downplays them. Some life of prayer and penance that dirty old man is living! There is a second section continuing the interview later in the clip below:

As the Washington Post investigation showed, Francis was told about all this, but as usual, it took the state to do what the Church would not.

And to think that there are people in the year 2019 who actually still believe the Pope who brought Uncle Ted in from the cold really is serious about cleaning up sex abuse in the Church. Meanwhile, pervy Bishop Zanchetta, who was a Bergoglio project from the beginning, is expected to fly this week to Argentina from Rome to show up in court on Thursday on sex abuse charges. It is hard to find an innocent explanation for why Francis brought this hot mess to the Vatican, trailing abuse allegations in Argentina, and gave him a special, just-for-him job in the Vatican Bank.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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