Portuguese child sex suspect to go on trial
September 26, 2003
LISBON — A former driver at a state orphanage in Portugal is due to go on
trial in October in a pedophile case that has tainted top public
figures, a weekly newspaper reported on Saturday.
Lisbon's top criminal court said the trial of Carlos Silvino,
who faces 35 charges related to sexual acts with four minors, would
start on October 7, Expresso newspaper reported.
The trial is one of the most keenly awaited court cases in
recent memory in Portugal.
The scandal first erupted in November, when Portuguese media
alleged that Silvino had been sexually assaulting children at Casa
Pia, Portugal's best-known home for abandoned and orphaned boys,
He was also accused of helping wealthy child molestors meet
young boys in his care.
Twelve other people have since been detained in connection with
the case, including former government minister Paulo Pedroso,
retired ambassador Jorge Ritto and popular television presenter
Silvino is the only suspect to have been officially charged with
Public prosecutors have until the end of 2004 to press charges
against the other 12 other suspects.
The case has dominated Portuguese headlines for the past nine
months and has shaken public confidence in politicians, especially
since it was reported that top officials knew of the abuse
allegations for years but took no action.
Analysts say the case is the first major test of Portugal's
legal system since the nation returned to democracy in 1974 after
nearly five decades of repressive right-wing dictatorship. –Sapa-AFP
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