New child abuse scandals mark Portugal

Following the shame of the nation’s Casa Pia child sex abuse scandal which involved all manner of previously respected figures and personalities, stories of institutional child abuse are becoming commonplace in Portugal.

Today, newspapers carry the case of a monitor at a Santa Casa da Misericórdia children’s home in Lisbon who is suspected of having abused more than 10 babies and children up to the age of seven for over a decade.

The abuse was “particularly serious and painful”, a judicial source is reported as telling ionline, while the alleged perpetrator was only arrested two weeks ago.

He is now in preventive custody, awaiting trial.

ionline explains the case only came to light following a complaint made by a child this year.

Elsewhere in Penafiel, national tabloid Correio da Manhã exposed the story of an ‘after-hours’ crèche where the owner is due in court on charges of child sex abuse, but has been allowed to continue looking after children.

Parents are described as “outraged”.

“We feel huge disgust,” a father told the paper. “We know the abuse could happen again, but no one does a thing!”

The man’s own daughter, now 15, was one of the crèche owner’s “victims”, he told the paper.

“My daughter and other victims have suffered. It has been very difficult, with years of intense work with psychologists and psychiatrists.

“They don’t understand how it is possible” for the man who abused them to be allowed to continue with his job, he added, while they “had to lose their adolescence”.

The trial date set for this particular case is September.

Meantime, changes in the way parents have started to react to even the suggestion of paedophilia also fill the papers.

Last week, a 46-year-old Eastern European man had to be ‘rescued’ from Praia do Tamariz in Cascais after parents ganged up on him for taking photos of their children as they played on the beach.

According to reports, the man was approached by a group of more than 50 angry parents who started throwing sand at him and demanding to see the photos.

Lifeguards called police who took the man to Estoril PSP station, where an inquiry has now been opened.

Police also confiscated the mobile phone the man had been using to take his photographs, writes CM .

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