Nuns accused of physical and psychological abuse
Three nuns have been arrested on suspicion of abuse at a juvenile care home in Vila Viçosa, in Portugal’s eastern Alentejo region.
The trio have since been released on the lightest of bail terms, but prohibited from contact with children and/ or young people and anyone at the home while investigations continue.
The Archdiocese of Évora has confirmed that it is “following the case with attention, prudence and care”.
In a statement sent to Lusa, the Archdiocese explains that it learnt of a case underway at the public prosecutor’s office over suspicions of mistreatment at the Dona Amália Tenreiro Cordeiro Vinagre children’s home in Vila Viçosa – an institution that “welcomes and accompanies children and young people at risk.
“This social care centre is part of the Vila Viçosa Santa Casa da Misericórdia charity and its staff includes a community of the Sisters of the Love of God, a congregation that has been present there for over 50 years,” reads the statement.
According to the Archdiocese, “three of the four nuns” who make up the community were detained in custody on Tuesday and brought before a judge the following day.
“They were released, having to report periodically to authorities to show proof of identity and residence (TIR) and are prevented from having contact with young people for the duration of the case,” the statement continues.
“The Archdiocese is following the case with attention, prudence and care. The clear priority will always be to ensure the protection and safety of the children and young people, while awaiting full clarification of the facts.”
Correio da Manhã newspaper reports that the investigation into this case has been going on since March, following a report by an employee at the institution.
According to the tabloid, the nuns are accused of physical and psychological abuse.
This latest case comes in the wake of the shocking child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Portuguese Catholic Church, and seen the new Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon pledge unwavering commitment for ‘total cure’ of the problem which goes back at least five decades, if not a great deal longer.