Argentina: Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf is a Catholic school for deaf children, founded in 1830 by a priest, Antonio Provolo. A Roman Catholic nun from Japan, Kosaka Kumiko, 42, was arrested and charged Friday on suspicion of helping priests sexually abuse children at the Antonio Provolo Institute in the Mendoza province of Argentina and also charged with physically abusing the students.
Before her arrest Kumiko had been a fugitive, “believed to have been hidden in northeast Argentina or in a bordering country.” She had been on the run for about a month before turning herself in late last week. Authorities say that Kosaka lived at the Provolo Institute from 2004-2012. Kumiko’s arrest stems from a sex abuse scandal that has roiled the Catholic Church from Argentina to Rome, and has resulted in Vatican probes and the arrests of two priests, Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi, and three other men.
Dozens of students in the Provolo Institute’s school in Italy were similarly abused for decades. Some victims accuse Corradi, the priest who is arrested in Argentina. In that time the Vatican ordered an investigation and sanctioned four accused priests, but not Corradi.
In a particularly disturbing case, the Roman Catholic nun allegedly forced a 5-year-old girl to wear a diaper in class, to conceal the bleeding, after she was sexually assaulted by a priest. Twelve years later, the officials started to investigate Kumiko’s role in the sex abuse scandal after that girl came forward to allege the nun had placed a dressing or diaper over her bleeding, preventing her from sitting in the classroom.
The students with hearing disabilities who lived far from Greater Mendoza were housed in the Institute. The nun’s responsibility was to watch over those children. Instead, she took advantage of her position to cover up abuse cases. The priests are accused of raping, sexually abusing and fondling the students in bathrooms, dorms, a garden and a basement at the school. The accused priests are being held at a jail in Mendoza and have not spoken publicly since the arrests. If they are found guilty, they could face 10 to 50 years in prison.
At least 24 students of the Provolo Institute in Argentina have come forward seeking justice for the abuse they say they suffered years ago. One of the alleged victims told the Associated Press she witnessed how a girl was raped by one priest while the other one forced her to give him oral sex, always presenting it as a game.
In court, Kumiko, wearing her habit and a bulletproof vest, claimed that she is innocent and said the allegations are a “strategy of the victims’ families to get money” and only “a campaign of discrediting the Church, intended to defile an entire religious order.” “I knew nothing of the abuses, I watched over the children… I’m innocent… I did not know about the abuses. I am a good person that has given my life to God,” she said in court.
Photo Credits: Patheos