NEW ALLEGATIONS have emerged in the Casa Pia court case regarding Socialist politician Paulo Pedroso. The trial centres on alleged abuses at a Lisbon State-run children’s care home. The main defendant is Carlos Silvino, or ‘Bibi’ as he is known, former driver at the home, who is accused of 669 acts of abuse.
Other defendants include TV star Carlos Cruz, former ambassador Jorge Ritto, former Casa Pia director Manuel Abrantes and Gertrudes Nunes, a woman whose house was allegedly the scene of various acts of paedophilia. Last year, charges against Paulo Pedroso, as well as TV comedian Herman José and archaeologist Francisco Alves, were dropped.
In his most recent testimony, ‘Bibi’ claimed he drove to Elvas to take children from Casa Pia to sex ‘parties’ at the home of Gertrudes Nunes. He also claimed that Pedroso was present at some of the parties, a statement that has led Pedroso’s defence team to make a complaint of defamation of character against Silvino and also to lodge a complaint with the Order of Lawyers.
One of the lawyers defending the abused children, António Pinto Pereira, has criticised the decision not to formally indict Pedroso. “There can be no room for doubt – Paulo Pedroso must be brought to trial,” he said. “The same evidence that led to the indictment of other defendants has led to his (Pedroso’s) non-indictment.”
Meanwhile, one of the children’s psychiatrists, Álvaro de Carvalho, who is monitoring testimonies, said Silvino’s declarations have helped the children. “The boys I have spoken to feel calmer and more cheerful now that someone linked to the case has confirmed their version of events,” he said.
The trial, which has rocked the country to the foundations, is expected to continue for many months and could involve appearances by up to 700 witnesses. In addition, 32 children are expected to give evidence.