Months after an investigative report by Buzzfeed News revealed nuns in the American Catholic orphanage system brutally abused children – including forcing them to eat their own vomit, beating them, hanging them upside down from windows, pricking their fingers with needles and even murdering children by pushing them off window ledges and drowning them – another ghastly report highlighted the trauma disabled children experienced at the hands of priests at a learning institute in Italy.
Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, a historic Catholic school for deaf children in Verona, Italy, has long been at the center of pedophilia allegations. However, a survivor identified as Giuseppe told The Daily Beast how the sexual abuse was not just prevalent at the institute, it was also very calculated.
According to Giuseppe, a mute and deaf victim who was enrolled at the school after his impoverished parents failed to take care of him, explained how the priests and religious brothers who ran the school taught him and other kids a secretive sign language.
He was 11-years-old when a priest made him learn the signs for certain sexual activities like male genitalia.
“I didn’t understand at first just why this man was teaching me these strange secret signs,” Giuseppe told the publication during an emotional interview. “Then one day it became very clear when one of the priests made the secret sign for fellatio when we were alone, which was followed by him pushing his erect penis into my mouth.”
Things continued to get worse from there.
Giuseppe revealed how school officials used areas designated for punishments or resting rooms to sexually assault innocent, helpless children. Moreover, since everyone at the institute was deaf except those committing the alleged abuse, it didn’t matter how loud the victims cried or screamed, no one ever took notice.
“Of course we screamed and cried,” he continued. “Sometimes you would see priests coming into the dormitory at night, or you would see friends with tears rolling down their faces and you knew exactly what had just happened. You didn’t need to hear to know.”
Giuseppe tried explaining his situation to people outside via letters, but he believes all correspondence in and out of the school was intercepted. Even after he left school upon turning 18, he still had a hard time telling people what he had been through, since no one understood the abuse signs taught by the priests.
Prosecutors in Verona have been investigating these accusations for nearly a decade and Giuseppe is one of 67 young male victims named in court documents. The case will reportedly go to trial later this year.
“It took a long time for us to be believed,” Giuseppe e said.
The allegations first emerged in the mid-1980s. However, instead of taking action against the alleged perpetrators, one of the most notorious alleged offenders named Father Nicola Corradi, who is now 83-years-old, was moved to the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, Argentina. According to the report, Corradi continued hi behavior there as well.
In 2016, he was arrested for allegedly abusing 22 deaf and mute children along with three other priests. The allegations against Corradi dated back three decades.
Meanwhile, several other accused assailants from Verona were also sent off to other institutes and most of them have already died of old age.
One of the victims at the South American Provolo Institute said she was first attacked at the age of 7 by Father Ricardo Giménez. It went on for three years before her parents found out and reported the priest, who was then sent off by the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. What’s even more troubling is the fact he was transferred under the direction of then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now referred to as Pope Francis.
There are currently at least 60 civil trials taking place in Argentina against such priests.
In September, two leading German media outlets, Spiegel Online and Die Zeit, reported a study on that claimed 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014 inside the Catholic Church in Germany. Most of the victims were altar boys.
Earlier this year, a grand jury report in Pennsylvania highlighted how six Roman Catholic dioceses were complicit in the “systematic cover up” of sexual abuse by 301 priests over a span of 70 years under the cloak of religion.
The grand jury identified over 1,000 victims, of whom the church, even the Vatican allegedly knew of but kept under covers to “avoid” bad publicity. Most of the victims were boys but some of them were girls. The priests would allegedly grope the victims, make them masturbate with assailants and rape them orally, vaginally or anally.
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