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  • Both victims were allegedly abused while attending the Santa Rosa de Lima parish in Villaguay, near Buenos Aires, between the ages of 12 and 15.

    Both victims were allegedly abused while attending the Santa Rosa de Lima parish in Villaguay, near Buenos Aires, between the ages of 12 and 15. | Photo: historiasconpueblos.blogspot.com

Published 5 April 2019

A priest was the fourth to be found guilty of sexually abusing children while overseeing the Villaguayan parish.

An Argentine priest, Marcelino Moya, received a 17 year prison sentence for sexually abusing minors between the years 1992 and 1997, a criminal court ruled Friday.

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The case began in June 2015, when a pair of men, Doctor Pablo Huck and Ernesto Frutos, filed legal complaints of suffering sexual abuse at the priest’s hands as children. The victims were members of the Santa Rosa de Lima parish in Villaguay, near Buenos Aires, and said they were violated between the ages of 12 and 15.

At least one of the men reported being sexually abused “at least twice a week and for almost two years...  in the priest’s room, on the first floor and while travelling in the priest’s car.”

During a closed sentencing hearing, the court found the priest guilty of “promoting aggravated corruption and simple sexual abuse,”after listening to numerous testimonies of victims and witnesses.

Ordained on Dec. 3, 1992, Moya was ordained by Estanislao Karlic, the then-archbishop of Parana, and Villaguay was one of the first parishes he oversaw while also working as an instructor at the Immaculada Institute in the city between 1992 and 1997.

Unfortunately this is not the first sexual abuse case to arise from the Villaguayan parish. A frequent television personality, Fr. Cesar Grassi, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for abusing a minor while running the Happy Children Foundation- an organization which sheltered over 6,000 children. He was convicted in 2009, but released on probation in 2013.

A few years later, two other priests, Juan Diego Escobar Gaviria in 2017 and Justo Ilarraz in May 2018, both received 25-year prison sentences for abusing members of the church.

Over the last decade, around the world, the Church’s credibility has been badly tarnished for the thousands of abuse cases emerging from Ireland, Chile, Australia, France, the United States, Poland, Germany and elsewhere. Billions of dollars in damages have been paid to victims and while dozens of parishes have been forced to close.

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