Seven priests under investigation for sexual abuse of minors

Priest accused of embezzling €800,000 from social solidarity institutions

Prosecutors describe ‘lavish lifestyle’; amorous relationship and purchase of a Porsche

Following on from the ignominy of last week’s dossier into child sex abuse within the Portuguese Catholic Church, the institution has been visited by new ‘scandal’ – again, very close to home.

This time it centres on a priest in charge of two Greater Lisbon parishes (Greater Lisbon being one of the mainland areas worst affected by the endemic sexual deviances of priests). 

But Father Arsénio Isidoro is not accused of molesting children: his alleged crime is diverting funds destined for children (in need/ at risk) and the elderly, for his own personal delectation. 

Say reports, public prosecutors have accused him of plundering €800,000, with a ‘female accomplice’ with whom he was having an amorous relationship.

The money is understood to have been lavished on various luxuries, including a Porsche motorcar costing €167,000.

To be fair, the popular press is often peppered with alleged misdemeanors of the clergy, but this year is an unusually sensitive one: the government and Lisbon City Council are due to spend tens of millions of euros supporting the costs of the largest Catholic event of the year: World Youth Day. To do so against a backdrop of pedophilia and embezzlement is not garnering a lot of public enthusiasm. Indeed, yesterday tabloid Correio da Manhã published a poll suggesting most citizens believe the Church should foot the whole bill for the week-long youth junket

Explain reports today, “Arsénio Isidoro is accused of abuse of confidence and money laundering, and will be standing trial shortly in Loures court”.

Porsche, trips, restaurants, expensive clothes, a boat and a holiday home

A Porsche, trips, meals out in restaurants, expensive clothes, a boat and a holiday home in Peniche were “some of the items purchased with money raised to support old people, children, some of them at risk or with handicaps”, says SIC.

“The Public Prosecutions Office believes that whenever the priest took control of institutions, he placed his lady friend as treasurer and/ or director” – and thus the embezzlement was able to proceed.

But Father Isidoro rejects the accusations, and is described as “crushed”.

According to SIC, he has not requested to leave the priesthood, but has been relieved of parochial functions for the time being.

The way forwards however is not looking good. SIC explains the probe into Father Isidoro’s activities opened in 2014. (It refers to the years 2007-2013).

SIC adds that one of the institutions allegedly plundered of funds has had to close its doors, with staff leaving without receiving salaries. 

According to Observador online, the villa in Peniche also failed to be completed as the builder was not paid in full.

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