Deaf survivors to Pope Francis: You knew, and you did not act
It is estimated that nearly 300 deaf children were abused in church operated schools in Argentina and Italy over several decades
Pope could have stopped priests who were molesting deaf children in Argentina, survivors say
Groups just arrived from Geneva in meetings with UN officials
Survivors are asking for a public meeting with Francis to mark first anniversary of global abuse summit
Link to activities and press events in Rome February 16-22:
Deaf victims of childhood sexual abuse and torture by Roman Catholic clergy from Argentina, along with human rights attorneys and global survivors and activist organizations will provide testimony of human rights violations by Pope Francis and the Holy See. The groups are asking for a meeting this week with Pope Francis.
Foreign Press Room, via dell’umilta, 83, 00187 Roma
TODAY, February 20, 2020, 11:00am
Based on evidence gathered by Argentine human rights attorneys, after Vatican officials and Pope Francis knew of the abuse and failed to act, other deaf and disabled persons were abused. It is estimated that nearly 300 deaf children were sexually assaulted and abused by over a dozen clergy and staff of three schools in Argentina and Italy.
The ringleader of the pedophile ring in Mendoza, Fr. Nicola Corradi, S.M., is an Italian priest who had been reported to the Vatican in 2009 for molesting deaf children in Verona, Italy. The Holy See and Pope Francis were notified repeatedly by Corradi’s Italian victims that the priest had transferred to Argentina, where he again was working at schools for deaf children.
After the arrest on November 24, 2016 of Corradi and the Mendoza school’s other sexually abusive priest, Fr. Horacio Corbacho, the Pope and the Vatican continued to enable the obstruction of justice. In 2017, instead of ordering church officials to cooperate fully with the criminal investigation. Francis dispatched two Vatican envoys who withheld crucial information from prosecutors.
In the recent high-profile trial and convictions of the two priests and a lay employee in November 2019, more than 20 deaf victims testified to being sexually assaulted and physically abused at the Institute, some beginning as early as five years old. In February 2020, nine more alleged offenders are expected to go to trial, including two nuns.
Even with the much-lauded removal of “papal secrecy” in abuse cases announced last December these officials have repeatedly refused to turn over documents and testimony gathered about the abuse to prosecutors and courts, citing church secrecy, the 1966 Concordat, and diplomatic immunity.
In its failure to stop the rape and torture of the deaf children of the Provolo institute, the Holy See violated at least two U.N. human rights treaties to which it is a signatory. Indeed, some of the crimes in Mendoza occurred after the Holy See was explicitly rebuked and warned by the U.N.
In a scathing report issued in February 2014, the Committee on the Rights of the Child said that the Holy See had “systematically placed the preservation of the reputation of the church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims” and must “immediately remove” all known or suspected child abusers within the clergy.
In April 2014, the Committee Against Torture rejected the Holy See’s argument that it only exercises control over the tiny Vatican City State and cannot be held accountable for the actions of Catholic priests and bishops throughout the world. They called on the Holy See to “take effective measures” to monitor individuals under its “effective control” and to “stop and sanction” conduct that would constitute “credible allegations of violations of the [UN] Convention [against Torture].” Vatican officials testified before both committees before their reports were issued.
Peter Isely, ECA Founding Member
Tim Law, President ECA USA/ECA Board Member
Lucas Lecour, President, Xumek
Dr. Denise Buchanan, ECA Founding/Board Member
Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide leadership network of survivors of clergy abuse and human rights activists. Its mission is to compel the Roman Catholic Church to end clergy abuse, protect children, and seek justice for victims. ECA assembly members represent over 21 countries from 6 continents.