Portugal court upholds convictions in child sex case
A Portuguese appeals court upheld convictions Thursday for five of six men jailed in a child sex case that rocked the country in a years-long trial, though judges found some flaws in the case.
Six men were initially sentenced to prison terms in September 2010 for sexually abusing dozens of children at a state-run children’s home called Casa Pia, as well as procuring minors to be raped at orgies.
Those convicted in the country’s longest running trial that began in 2004 included a star television presenter, a former ambassador, a doctor, a lawyer and a former administrator at the Lisbon home.
All six have remained free since the trial, their sentences suspended during the appeals process.
The appeals court did find technical flaws in the part of the case dealing with abuse alleged to have taken place in a woman’s home in the southeast town of Elvas, and this part of the case will be retried.
The lawyer, who was convicted for what happened in Elvas, had his conviction overturned but will face retrial.
Because of the legal hitch, Carlos Silvino, a former driver and gardener at Casa Pia, had his sentence cut from 18 to 15 years in prison.
Carlos Cruz, the former television presenter, had his sentence trimmed from seven to six years in prison.
Judges confirmed the sentences against the former administrator, the diplomat and the doctor.
Court spokesman Luis Vaz das Neves said the decision was unanimous.
The Casa Pia scandal broke in November 2002 when an inmate of the home for youngsters in difficult circumstances told the press of having been raped by Silvino.
Former residents came forward to tell of rapes and “special evenings.”
Aside from Silvino, who pleaded guilty, the defendants have consistently proclaimed their innocence.
On Thursday, the lawyer for the Casa Pia victims said he was satisfied with the appeal court’s decision.