As the extent of child-sex abuse scandals slowly becomes more and more evident in Portugal, children are being heard for “future memory” in the case against a former monitor at the state-funded Santa Casa da Misericórdia.
According to reports in today’s Correio da Manhã, the children have told Lisbon’s court of criminal instruction (TIC) that they were forced to watch pornographic films before “being abused in group” by the 42-year-old social worker for eight horrific years.
Arrested at the beginning of June, the man is being held in preventive custody and, according to reports, PJ investigators have no reason to doubt the children’s testimonies.
They are being heard now so as to avoid the need for calling any of them to the witness stand when their alleged abuser finally faces trial.
As widely reported in June, the man is understood to have subjected at least seven babies and children under the age of seven to “particularly painful and serious abuse” while in State care.
Some the children were waiting for adoption, having been removed from their families as a result of neglect and/or abuse, others were in temporary care and have since returned to their families.
CM writes that the youngsters have been “recounting the terror that they lived” at the hands of someone employed to take care of them, while the former monitor is understood to be denying all charges levelled against him.
CM claims the worker threatened the children to remain silent, but that one finally spoke out to his adoptive parents years later and these alerted the authorities.
The paper adds that the abuse is alleged to have taken place between 2004 and 2012, when the monitor received a promotion, moving to the nearby area of Areeiro.
For now seven children have been identified although the PJ is reported as investigating the existence of more victims.