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A former priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors

A former priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors

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An ex-priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors

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An ex-priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors

Posted 21 December 2021, 10: 01

Tuesday, justice sentenced a former American priest, to twelve years of detention, for having abused children in an orphanage, in East Timor.

In the center, Richard D., who abused many children entrusted to an orphanage he had founded.

AFP A defrocked American priest was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 years in prison, for sexually abusing children from an orphanage in East Timor that he founded, following a trial that divided the deeply Catholic Southeast Asian country.

At least fifteen women accused Richard D., 37, of having them subjected to touching and forced sex when they were children, in the Catholic institution located in Oecusse, a Timorese enclave in Indonesia.

Oecusse District Court judges found Pittsburgh-born Richard D. guilty of multiple counts of child sexual abuse at the facility he founded in the years 1990 to house hundreds of orphans and poor children.

Reduced sentence

The former American Catholic priest was sentenced to a total of 25 years of imprisonment, but the judges took into account his advanced age to reduce the sentence. “Richard D. is sentenced to 12 years for sexual crimes on minors and taking into account the age of the defendant ”, indicated Yudi Pamukas, the president of the court.

The judges demanded that the convict be immediately imprisoned to prevent him from escaping. The court also ordered the Timorese authorities to pay financial compensation to the victims of the priest’s sexual abuse. Richard D. was in court for the verdict – open to the public after a closed-door trial that began in June.

Multiple rapes

Several victims accused the cleric of having kept lists with the names of the children who were to spend the night with him. They accused him of multiple rapes and touching. But part of the Timorese have questioned these accusations and many victims refuse to be identified, fearing reprisals. This affair has deeply divided the former Portuguese colony where he was for a long time a revered figure.

The Church is a highly respected institution in East Timor, a small country that shares a border with Indonesia, and where 84% of the population is Catholic. Richard D., arrived in Timor as a missionary, was defrocked by the Vatican in 1990, but the accusations of sexual abuse were only published the following year by local media.

(AFP)

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