Casa Pia charges dropped

Some of the most prominent people involved in the ongoing Casa Pia paedophilia case have had the charges against them dropped, while others have had their charges reduced. The Casa Pia scandal first became public in late 2002. Last December, charges were filed against 10 leading figures. At that time, Prime Minister Durão Barroso pledged that justice would be done and expressed complete confidence in the country’s legal system. Now, after six months of living with being branded a paedophile, comedian and television talk-show host, Herman José, and Paulo Pedroso, a spokesman for the Socialist Party, have had the charges against them dropped, due to lack of evidence.

The eight others also had their charges reduced, including ‘Mr TV’, Carlos Cruz, the former television talk-show host, who was released from house arrest, and Jorge Ritto, a former Portuguese ambassador, who now faces just nine counts of child molestation rather than the original 16. Manuel Abrantes, the former head of the Casa Pia children’s home in Lisbon, where it is alleged that young boys were sexually abused, also saw charges against him reduced, from 95 counts of sexual abuse to 51. A lawyer for the 100 boys who claim they were abused while living in the home told reporters that he planned to appeal against the judge’s decision.