Casa Pia defendant Carlos Cruz may be released for Christmas

Over two years since he was condemned in the long-running Casa Pia child sex abuse case, former TV presenter Carlos Cruz looks like he may be going home for Christmas.

It will not be a permanent release, however. Just a three-days in which the man who has always maintained his innocence will be allowed out of Sintra’s Carregueira jail, where fellow inmates former UNESCO ambassador Jorge Ritto, former Casa Pia governor Manuel Abrantes and former Casa Pia driver Carlos Silvino are all serving sentences for their part in the case that shocked the nation and took agonising years to reach completion.

This will be the first time legal moves for early release have worked to Cruz’s favour, write newspapers.

Earlier bids have all fallen flat, largely on the basis that Cruz had not “interiorised his guilt” or shown remorse.

The fact that someone insisting on his innocence would have scuppered any future chances on appeal by interiorising guilt, or showing remorse, does not seem to have been taken into account.

Since being condemned to six years in jail for the abuse of a minor, Cruz has been stripped of his public honours and seen his pension reduced.

When he walked into prison in 2013, his lawyer Ricardo Sá Fernandes said in a statement: “Carlos Cruz did not commit the crimes for which he has been condemned, reaffirming that he was never in the place where he is alleged to have committed them, nor did he know the victims.”

For now, Cruz has to wait 30 days before he can name the three-day period that he would like to choose. This gives time to the Public Ministry to contest the decision, which has come from the TEP (Tribunal for the Execution of Prison Terms).

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