The Office of the Bishop Gives Full Backing to Criminal Complaint for Abuses at Religious School
-The testimonies of abused former students were compiled in the book “The Angel’s Hunt.”
-The sexual abuses would have been perpetrated by the priest-director of the school, a preceptor, and a teacher, between the 1970s and 1990s.
-The Office of the Bishop of Lomas de Zamoro ordered a “thorough investigation.”
May 23, 2013
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
The Office of the Bishop of Lomas de Zamora confirmed today that it gives its full backing to the criminal complaint issued by Pallottine priests that came as a result of alleged cases of sexual abuse committed at a religious school of that congregation between the decades of the 1970s and 1990s. The abuses were only recently denounced.
The bishop of that jurisdiction, Jorge Lugones, expressed “concern” for the “severity of the episodes related in the media” that were published on Sunday, and asked that the justice system, upon corroborating the incidents, proceed “with the application of the fullest extent of the law against the perpetrators.”
The newspaper Página/12 reproduced testimonies that are included in the book, “The Angel’s Hunt,” written by Sebastián Di Silvestro, which details the cases of abuse and harassment suffered by students at Instituto Vicente Pallotti, in Turdera, a district of Buenos Aires.
The Office of the Bishop said today in a statement that it was made “aware of the situation last Friday through the book, which was hand-delivered to them by Mr. Carlos Zermoglio, former rector of the institute.”
The bishopric’s statement specified that the diocesan bishop give his full backing to the criminal complaint issued by priest Rubén José Fuhr, regional rector of the Pallottine priests of Argentina, who asked the Public Prosecutor to “proceed with a thorough investigation in order to corroborate whether these events actually occurred and, if so, to apply the fullest extent of the law against the perpetrators.”
Pablo Zermoglio, now 39 years old, is one of the former students who, in the book, is alleged to have been a victim of sexual abuse by “respected individuals” at the Catholic school: the priest-director, the chief of preceptors and computer teacher, the head of pastoral theology, and a history teacher.
The book documents incidents that occurred between the 1970s and 1990s in and around the educational establishment, its campgrounds, youth center (located next to the parochial temple), and other buildings belonging to the institute, among other places.
“At that time I was 20 years old, and a man, who was someone I respected, inappropriately touched me, something that was very confusing given our [mutually respectful] relationship. I believe that, after what happened, my mission is to expose it to the light of the public so it doesn’t continue happening,” Zermoglio told La Prensa.
Zermoglio confirmed that he considered it appropriate to tell his parents about his “horrible” situation, and that, when he went with them to the school, officials there “denied everything” and said it was “just a misunderstanding.”
After being denied by the school, Zermoglio’s father, who himself had been a teacher and director at the institute, sent a letter to the provincial superior of the religious congregation to inform him of the situation, but didn’t receive a response.
In the book, “The Angel’s Hunt,” all the victims -- including Zermoglio, who revealed his identity to this newspaper -- and the perpetrators are given pseudonyms for legal reasons.
Nevertheless, Zermoglio’s father identified the first and last names of each individual who’d been denounced as an abuser during his Friday meeting with the bishop at which he delivered him a copy of the book with the testimonies.