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Two Priests Sentenced to Prison Time for Abuse of Deaf Children in Argentina

The front gate at the Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters )

Two Catholic priests were both sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in Argentina on Monday, after being found guilty of sexually abusing deaf children at a Catholic-run school.

A three-judge panel in the city of Mendoza sentenced Father Nicola Corradi to 42 years and Father Horacio Corbacho to 45 years, as well as gardener Armando Gómez to 18 years, for 20 counts of abuse from 2005 to 2016 at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children.

“Thank God there has been justice and peace for the victims,” Father Dante Simon, one of two priests sent by the Vatican to investigate, told The Associated Press after the ruling. Pope Francis has not commented publicly on the matter, but Simon had previously told the AP that the pontiff expressed his sadness about the case and told him that “he was very worried about this situation.”

In a report previously submitted to the Vatican, Simon requested the maximum canonical penalty for Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and Corbacho, a 59-year-old Argentine: that they be made to “resign directly by the Holy Father.” His report must be reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Corradi had been previously accused of similar offenses at a sister institution in Italy, but was never charged, despite Italian Provolo students going public with tales of abuse.

Corradi’s name appeared publicly in 2009, when 67 people said they were abused at the Verona institute, and specifically said Corradi was in Argentina. In 2012, the diocese of Veron sanctioned 24 of the accused, but Corradi was left off the list. None of the cases ever went to trial.

Corradi’s name appeared again in 2014 in a letter written to the Pope by deaf students in Verona that reiterated the potential danger he posed in Argentina.

In a statement, the Archbishopric of Mendoza expressed “solidarity and closeness with the victims and their families, who have reported suffering the most aberrant mistreatment” and vowed to “keep working to ensure that these situations are not repeated.”

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