Paedophile lawyer manages to skip bail in Grândola and flee to Brazil

A former president of the political council for the PS in Grândola has shocked the community by vanishing just as a court of appeal confirmed his four-and-a-half year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of children.

That well-known local politician and lawyer by profession João Marcelino Rodrigues was cited over four cases of child sex abuse was shocking enough, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã – but the fact that he has now managed to escape justice altogether has been almost too much to stomach.

His four victims – of which only three were ‘accepted’ by the court – were aged between nine and 12 when abused. They were the daughters of Rodrigues’ own clients, and he impressed on each one that “no-one would believe them” if they claimed he had interfered with them. Two years on, the children are still scarred by the mental trauma that they suffered at their abuser’s hands. As a family member asked CM: “How is it possible that he got away?”

The paper adds that with Rodrigues has also gone the likelihood of any of the damages awarded against him ever being paid.

Ironically, the abuser was sent directly to jail when he was condemned to an original five-and-a-half years behind bars.

Grândola Tribunal was told he posed a flight risk and his passport was held.

But weeks later, he lodged his appeal and was allowed home on the relatively open “Termo de Identidade e Residência” regime (the defendant is not allowed to leave his area of residence and has to be available whenever notified by the authorities).

When Évora’s appeal court finally ruled in March that Rodrigues should indeed serve time in jail, it was too late. GNR police sent out to bring him in could not trace him.

Carrying a large photograph of him with a suitcase at an airline check-in, CM reveals Rodrigues is almost certainly now in Brazil, where he has dual-nationality.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]