Ex-Catechist Sentenced to 12 Years of Prison for Sexual Abuse
He had abused two 13-year-old students. One of them located him in the United States and managed to bring him to trial here.
By Gabriel Bermúdez
September 26, 2012
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
An ex-priest and educator of the Marianista School of the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Caballito was sentenced yesterday to 12 years of prison for abusing two boys who studied at that institution. The Criminal Court determined that Fernando Enrique Picciochi committed the crime of “corruption of minors” against the two plaintiffs, Sebastián Cuattromo (36) and another man – who preferred to keep his identity private – who together denounced Picciochi in 2000 for an incident that occurred 11 years prior, when they were 7th grade students.
“We are very pleased, not only because Picciochi was held accountable but also for the judge’s sentence,” the victim’s lawyer, Diego Freedman, told Clarín minutes after the verdict. He considered that “hearing the verdict in person had a very important therapeutic effect on the victims… their version of the events was believed, the same version that was originally ignored by the Marianista School.” The verdict was signed by the judges Rodolfo Madariaga, Hugo Rocha Degreef and Alfredo Alejandro Sañudo.
Cuattromo’s battle was long. First he had to negotiate his own fears and the prejudices of those around him. Finally, he filed the complaint and the order of detention went into effect, but Picciochi had abandoned the country. Following his international order of capture, it was discovered that in 2001 he had fled to the United States, still there as of 2007 under a false Mexican identity. He was detained in Texas and later extradited to Argentina in September, 2010.
Although at the beginning of the trial Picciochi refused to make any declaration, he did give his testimony at one of the final hearings, in which he sought to refute the denouncements and said that “they were doing it for money.”
The abuses occurred in 1989, a year before the Marianist de Caballito School became a co-ed institution. “At night, he barged into our bedroom, sat on the bed and sexually assaulted us,” Cuattromo told Clarín. The ex-priest kissed them, fondled their genitals, and jerked them off. “For us it was devastating,” confessed Cattromo, who, one year later, still in Buenos Aires, was the victim of another abuse in the basement of a school courtyard.
At that school, following the denouncement of a fellow student, the incident was covered up and Picciochi was transferred to Río Negro, where he eventually abandoned the congregation.
For Cuattromo, the conviction is positive because “it’s a political message for the victims to try not to remain prisoners of their chronic suffering.”