Presented as another case of justice according to who you are, not what you have done, Portuguese media has highlighted the “soft treatment” of a former naval sergeant condemned to five-and-a-half years in jail for the abuse of young girls while posing as a 15-year-old boy on Facebook.
Fifty-eight-year-old Inácio Monteiro was found guilty of sexually abusing two teenagers after being caught “in flagrante” with a number of sexy photographs of children who never came to be identified.
Despite receiving an initial four-and-a-half-year jail term in March last year, the Public Ministry appealed – considering the sentence too lenient – and Monteiro was then handed the five-and-a-half-year sentence.
He then appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice which decided to reduce the jail term by six months and leave it suspended for five years.
During that time, Monteiro has to enter into “treatment designed for sexual offenders”, ruled the court.
Reporting on the about-turn for a condemned sexual predator, journalists commented that throughout the latest appeal court hearing Monteiro was referred to as “the sergeant”.
However, his callous manipulation of young girls was clearly out of control. At the Supreme Court hearing, he admitted to “liking sexual relations with 12-16 year olds” but said that due to marital problems, he had no control over his actions.
As media reports pointed out, Monteiro lives near a primary school and a crèche in his hometown of Seixal.
While posing as a 15-year-old boy he groomed a girl of the same age in Portimão, travelling down to the Algarve to meet her and force her to commit sex acts in his car.
According to news reports, he initially gave the girl €70, but then made her return the money as she was reluctant to meet him again.
The next time he appears to have groomed a child, the child’s mother was alert to the danger and called in police who caught him “red handed”.