Corrientes Priest Who Terminated Teachers Is Denounced
‘You'll preach by example’
The same priest who, one month ago, terminated three educators for not being married in the Church, was denounced for abusing two students.
"I also feel sorry for Father Scaramellini, because apparently he hasn't preached by example," one of the terminated teachers said yesterday.
June 27, 2001
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
[PHOTO CAPTION: Priest Jorge Scaramellini Guerrero, Director of the School. The parents of two adolescents denounced him for "abuso deshonesto.”]
“Do as I say, not as I do.” This could be the tagline of Father Jorge Scaramellini Guerrero, accused of abusing two adolescent students at Santa Catalina Catholic School, in Corrientes, where he is director.
Above and beyond the severity of the alleged abuse, it must be noted that Scaramellini had achieved public notoriety a little over a month ago, when he expelled three teachers from Nuestra Señora de la Pompeya School (Santa Catalina annex) for having marriages that were not declared in the Church: he qualified these arrangements as “adulterous” and didn’t consider the teachers morally fit to perform their roles at the religious school. He went on to argue that “he or she who doesn’t comply with the Ten Commandments should be removed from the school.”
The prosecutor in the Scaramellini case told Página 12, in a preview of what Is to come, that, after evaluating the evidence, the Criminal Justice System will determine whether Scaramellini, who has demonstrated the strictest enforcement of divine law, is himself free of sin.
The parents of two male students (16 and 17 years old, who attend the Santa Catalina de Alejandría Catholic School, in the city of Corrientes, the capital of the province of Corrientes), filed a criminal complaint last Thursday for ““abuso deshonesto” committed by the director of the institution, Father Scaramellini Guerrero. The alleged abuse, according to the complaint, would have occurred between the 18th and 20th of June.
The prosecutor, César Sotelo, informed Página 12 that, after the evidence presented is evaluated, the Criminal Court will commence the trial against the priest, who is charged with ““abuso deshonesto simple” which carries a sentence of six months to 4 years in prison.
The father of one of the allegedly abused boys, whose identities are being withheld, said in a radio interview that the incidents “are many more and have been occurring for some time, although they never came to light because the boys feared being expelled from the school or being punished by the priest.”
The incensed father urged “those who have experienced similar incidents, who we know are many, to find the courage to denounce him [Scaramellini] so that these episodes come to an end and this individual gets the punishment he deserves.”
Judicial sources consulted by Página 12 believe that the number of complaints against the priest could increase in the coming days.
The allegations against the priest shocked the people of Corrientes, since they involved the very man who a month prior saw to it that the rules of the Church were strictly enforced against three female teachers who had marriages that were not declared in the Church. This led to Scaramellini terminating Juana Ríos, Haydée Aguirre and Eva Guidi from their positions at Nuestra Señora de la Pompeya School. The three teachers, all legally divorced, had gotten married again (though not in the Church), and since their first marriages had gotten the blessing of the Church, their second marriages were deemed, by Scaramellini, as “living in adultery.”
He justified his decision, indicating that the educators “cannot teach at the school because they have engaged in a union that is contrary to the precepts of the Church,” adding that “they aren’t living up to our standards for exemplary conduct by virtue of not being in accordance with the covenants of the school, which are governed by the basic guidelines of the Catholic Church.”
Like a modern-day member of the Inquisition, Scaramellini publicly condemned the teachers: he accused one of being “an embarrassment to the students,” and removed her along with the second teacher from the school, with the help of the police. He dismissed the third teacher while shouting at her in front of other teachers and a group of students, accusing her of having “committed a grave sin.”
The three teachers publicly protested Scaramellini’s decision, provoking widespread disapproval of the decision from the local community, and leading to the intervention of the Archbishop of Corrientes, Carmelo Giaquinta, who revoked the sanctions and ordered the reinstatement of the three in a non-Catholic academic establishment.
However, this order was delayed in getting implemented because Scaramellini refused to approve their reinstatement, until finally yielding to pressure. One of the expelled teachers, Haydée Aguirre, said yesterday, regarding the allegations against the priest, that she felt “a lot of pain for those boys, because if they suffered what their parents say they did, they’ll be scarred for life.” She added: “I also feel sorry for Father Scaramellini, because apparently he hasn’t preached by example.”
Sources at the Office of the Archbishop of Corrientes told Página 12 that “the verdict of the Justice System will be awaited” before taking action against the priest. In the meantime, they said, Scaramellini will continue his work as director of the school.
Production: Hernán Fluk.