Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Abuse Tracker, Italian Desk

Suffice it to say, my local paper has found religion....

A story from the Inquirer's Rome bureau chief about an Italian celebri-priest accused of abuse. Apparently, it's big news across the Pond:
First, Ben Hsin and several other inmates say, Lodeserto, known here as "Don Cesare," watched and participated while carabinieri guards and other staff members beat them with truncheons. Then, the inmates say, the guards forced them to eat pork, in a mockery of the Muslim ban on that meat, by shoving it into their mouths with the batons.

"They pushed pork down my throat, and they left me outside with no clothes," Ben Hsin said in an interview, repeating his court testimony. "Don Cesare ordered it."

Some of the inmates were severely bruised, allegedly from the beatings, and prosecutors have charged a doctor with filing a false report claiming that the bruises came from falls during the escape attempt. Lodeserto also has been charged with obstruction of justice over allegations that he tried to intimidate witnesses into changing their testimony. Prosecutors say he ordered a woman to falsely accuse a key witness of raping her.

In a separate case, prosecutors have accused Lodeserto of illegally confining several Moldovan women in another part of the facility. The women had been brought to Italy as part of a sex-trafficking ring, and, having fled their captors, had been granted immigration permits that allowed them to move about freely....

In addition to highlighting the plight of immigrants in Italy, the scandal has underscored the increasing willingness of a new generation of prosecutors to take on the Catholic Church. Prosecutors began investigating the center after they discovered what appeared to be a second set of accounting ledgers for it in an unrelated matter. They opened the other cases after the inmates complained to human-rights activists.

"I am a Catholic. I know the value of Catholicism," said Carolina Elia, a lead prosecutor in the case. "There is very little Catholic in all of this."
We in the States know that latter truth all too well, don't we?



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