Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Catholic Abuse News - What Pope Francis Knows


Nicola Corradi and fellow priest Horacio Corbacho, left, are escorted to a courtroom in Mendoza, Argentina, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016.

Credit: AP Photo/Emmanuel Rodriguez Villegas
Argentine abuse investigation involves priest previously reported to Pope Francis

In addition to the unanswered accusations by Archbishop Carlo Viganò concerning Pope Francis's knowledge of Cardinal McCarrick's sexually predatory habits, there are persistent accusations that, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he was informed of the predatory activities of Fr. Nicola Corradi at a Catholic-run school for deaf children in Argentina but did nothing to protect his victims or bring Corradi to justice.

This sorry story starts in Italy where Corradi, a member of the Company of Mary, an Italian religious community which operates schools for deaf children in several countries, including Argentina and Italy, is reported to have sexually abused several deaf children at the Antonio Provolo Institute for deaf and mute children. This allegation came from “Giuseppe” who was born near Verona with a congenital defect that left him deaf and mute. He was eventually enrolled in an Antonio Provolo Institute.

At the age of 11, according to this report:

...a monk who worked at the institute as an educator started teaching “special secret signs” for things like masturbation, fellatio, penis, and anus. “I didn’t understand at first just why this man was teaching me these strange secret signs,” Giuseppe explained in an exclusive, and very emotional, interview in Rome. “Then one day it became very clear when one of the priests made the secret sign for fellatio when we were alone, which was followed by him pushing his erect penis into my mouth....

"Of course we screamed and cried. Sometimes you would see priests coming into the dormitory at night, or you would see friends with tears rolling down their faces and you knew exactly what had just happened. You didn’t need to hear to know."

The abuse against Giuseppe allegedly lasted for seven full years, until he turned 18 and left the institution...

Giuseppe is one of 67 young boys who have been named in court documents and were allegedly abused by more than two dozen priests and brothers at the Provolo Institute, according to Verona prosecutors who have been investigating the allegations for nearly a decade and who plan to bring it to trial later this year.

One of the most notorious alleged offenders was Father Nicola Corradi, now 83...

When allegations against Corradi came to light in the mid 1980s, instead of the authorities being informed, the bishop took the time-honoured measure in such circumstances, and moved Corradi to a safe distance away. In this case he was sent to Mendoza in Argentina, to work in another Antonio Provolo Institute, where he could carry on abusing deaf boys. Several other abusive priests from Verona were sent with Corradi to Argentina but have since died.

In the Mendoza institute, according to court documents in Argentina, Corradi soon found fellow priests with similar tastes for abusing defenceless children and continued his abusive ways, abusing 22 children over three decades, until being arrested in 2016 along with three other priest. There are now more than 60 civil court actions in progress in Argentina alleging abuse of children by Catholic priests.

One of those victims was Julieta Añazco who was first abused by Father Ricardo Giménez of the Provolo Institute when she was just seven years old, in a tent being used as a confessional at a youth festival. The abuse continued for three years until Julieta's parents found out and filed a complaint. Giménez was then transferred by the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, under the direction of then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

Julieta Añazco is now a leading member of the Argentine branch of SNAP. Along with several other victims from the Povolo Institute she tried several times to arrange a meeting with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he became Pope Francis but their requests went unanswered. Eventually, she and thirteen other victims wrote to Pope Francis in 2013 to remind him of the abuses that had occurred on his watch in Argentina. Although arrested briefly, Giménez was never charged and remains a working priest.

The letter to Pope Francis remains unanswered although Julieta Añazco did receive proof of receipt.

Fr. Julio César Grassi. Still an ordained priest.
In addition to the Giménez case, the website Bishop Accountability lists five other instances where Cardinal Bergoglio knew of sexual abuses of minors:

Questions about Bergoglio’s role in five abuse cases

The factors that have produced disclosure by bishops and religious superiors in other countries – civil action by victims, investigations of the church by prosecutors, and governmental inquiries – have occurred little or not at all in the Federal Capital of Buenos Aires, which is the territory of the archdiocese. As a result, almost no information has emerged about Cardinal Bergoglio’s direct management of accused priests. Only one Buenos Aires archdiocesan priest – Carlos Maria Gauna – has been publicly accused. But in the high-profile cases of four child molesters from religious orders or other dioceses – Grassi, Pardo, Picciochi, and Sasso – there is evidence that Bergoglio knowingly or unwittingly slowed victims in their fight to expose and prosecute their assailants. Victims of all four offenders say that they sought the cardinal's help. None of them received it, even those who were poor, struggling on the periphery of society – the people whom Pope Francis has championed. (According to Bergoglio's former spokesman, the cardinal declined to meet with victims.)
  • Fr. Julio César Grassi – Grassi was convicted in 2009 of molesting a boy who had lived in a home for street children that Grassi founded. After Grassi’s conviction, Bergoglio commissioned a secret study to persuade Supreme Court judges of Grassi's innocence. Bergoglio’s intervention is believed to be at least part of the reason that Grassi remained free for more than four years following his conviction. He finally was sent to jail in September 2013. See our detailed summary of the Grassi case with links to articles.
  • Fr. Rubén Pardo – In 2003, a priest with AIDS who had admitted to his bishop that he had sexually assaulted a boy was discovered to be hiding from law enforcement in a vicarage in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, then headed by Bergoglio. Pardo also was reportedly hearing children's confessions and teaching in a nearby school. One of Bergoglio’s auxiliary bishops, with whom he met every two weeks, appears to have lived at the vicarage at the same time. Typically, an ordinary must give permission for a priest to live and work in his diocese. It is unlikely that Pardo lived and ministered in Buenos Aires without Bergoglio's approval. See our detailed summary of the Pardo case.
  • Brother Fernando Enrique Picciochi, S.M. – After a victim discovered that his abuser had fled Argentina to the US, eluding law enforcement, the victim sought Bergoglio’s help in getting released from the confidentiality order imposed by the cleric’s religious order. He conveyed his request in meetings with Bergoglio’s private secretary and with the auxiliary bishop, current archbishop Mario Poli. The archdiocese would not help. See our detailed summary of the Picciochi case.
  • Rev. Mario Napoleon Sasso – In 2001, following a diagnosis as a pedophile at a church-run treatment center, Sasso was made pastor of a very poor parish with a community soup kitchen in the Zárate-Campana diocese. In 2002-2003, he sexually assaulted at least five little girls in his bedroom off the soup kitchen. In 2006, with Sasso in jail but not yet convicted, the parents of the little girls reportedly sought Bergoglio's help. Bergoglio was then president of the Argentine bishops' conference, and the soup kitchen was just 25 miles from the Buenos Aires archdiocese. Bergoglio would not meet with them. See our detailed summary of the Sasso case.
  • Rev. Carlos Maria Gauna – Gauna was an archdiocesan priest under Bergoglio's direct supervision. In 2001, two girls at a school filed a criminal complaint saying Gauna had touched them inappropriately. Bergoglio reportedly was going to look into it. Gauna still works in the Buenos Aires archdiocese. Notably, he's now a deacon and a hospital chaplain – possible indicators that Bergoglio considered the allegations credible but decided to demote him rather than remove him from ministry. See our detailed summary of the Gauna case.

Concerning the first of these five cases, a secret 2,000 page report uncovered by Associated Press last month show that Pope Francis as Cardinal Bergoglio not only knew of the case but was actively working behind the scenes to defend Fr. Julio César Grassi. He believed Grassi was innocent and commissioned the report to try to prove it.

The report is a forensic analysis of the case against Grassi which concluded that he was innocent and that his victims were liars. It contains court-protected details of one of Grassi's victims, Gabriel, and denigrated him. It amounted to a hatchet job against Grassi's victims. Although the Argentine church insists that the elaborately bound copies of the report, complete with reproductions of Johannes Vermeer paintings on the covers, were for internal church use only, mysteriously, copies of them found their way onto the desks of the Argentine justices who were hearing an appeal by Grassi again his conviction. Despite this attempt to influence the appeal process, the appeal court upheld the conviction and 15 year sentence. Cardinal Bergoglio however decided he knew better and refused to defrock the convicted child abuser, Grassi.

The Moron diocese has now announced that Grassi had been removed from pastoral duties when the trial began, and that he now has been restricted from exercising any public ministry. Given that he is currently languishing in the Unidad 41 de Campana prison in Buenos Aires, this a meaningless gesture.

Requests by Gabriel for an audience for Pope Francis have gone unanswered and his lawyers say they have been threatened.

The Grassi case is hailed as a watershed case by Julieta Añazco. Grassi was at the time a celebrity priest and his victim was up against the Catholic elite who subjected him to public humiliation and accusations of only seeking money, and he still won. This has given many more Argentinian victims of Catholic priest abuse to come forward.


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3 comments :

  1. Hi Rosa,
    Always find your posts interesting, especially about those cretins in Rome. Stuff you just don't read about in the main stream media. Great work.

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