Entertainment A former American priest in Timor trial for sexual abuse on children
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The trial of an American ex-priest accused of abusing little girls for years in an orphanage of East Timor opened this week in the Catholic country of South-East Asia deeply divided by this case. .
Richard Daschbach, 84, is accused of sexual assault, pornography on minors and violence, and risks up to 20 years in prison.
This case divides the former Portuguese colony where it has long been a figure revealed for creating the orphanage in the early 1990s the Orphanage and the Honis Topu Refuge. He offered accommodation, food, clothing and education at hundreds of orphans and poor children.
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after several postponements, the hearings started Wednesday with the participation of the Accused via video link from Timoise Capital Dili.
But the trial, closed to the media, was adjourned Thursday until early July, after a request from the defense related to technical problems.
At least 15 women accused Richard Daschbach to have subjected them to coupling and forced sex when they were children in the Catholic institution located in Oecusse, a Timore Enclave in Indonesia.
- Discrimination against the victims -
Maria Agnes BERE of the Association JU, S Council Social, which represents the victims, protested against this new back-time.
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"There have been too much postponement, and always at the request of the Defense. Once again has been a discriminatory attitude towards victims' women".
"We hope that the trial can bring the truth and that we will be free to move forward in our lives," said one of the victims, who lived at the orphanage for eight years .
"The victims know what happened. We lived it".
Several victims accused the religious for holding lists with the names of the children who had to spend the night with him. They accused him with multiple rapes and attachments.
But part of the Timorese questioned these accusations and many victims refuse to be identified, fearing retaliation.
The Church is a highly respected institution in East Timor, a small country that shares a border with Indonesia, and where 97% of the population is Catholic.
The Catholic Church represented the only recourse for the population during the brutal period of Indonesian occupation and the struggle for independence from 1975 to 1999 during which nearly one-third of the population of the territory was killed.
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Richard Daschbach, arrived in Timor as a missionary, was defeated by the Vatican in 2018, but the accusations of sexual abuse were published only the following year by the local tempo Timor newspaper.
The Catholic clergy in the capital Dili said this year that the former priest had been driven out of the Church for confirming the "hate crime" of miners' abuse.
The former priest, however, continued to receive support at the highest level on the island, especially from the hero of independence and former Timorese President Xanana Gusmao, who welcomes the supported support of Richard Daschbach to the Independent Cause .
Several victims and their lawyers, however, are fighting that the alleged crimes of Richard Daschbach are exposed and judged during the trial, already repeatedly delayed.
has repeatedly the ex-priest did not show up at the hearings at Oecusse, and after the establishment of a video link to appear since Dili, his defense considered that the technical problems did not allow the conduct of a fair trial.
The accused, who lives in East Timor since the mid-1970s, is under house arrest in Dili. It is also sought after in the United States for electronic fraud, according to Interpol.
Another alleged victim testified that she and other girls from the orphanage were forced to sleep naked at the side of the priest who was engaged in sexual abuse.
The woman, arrived at the shelter at 10, remembers that the priest also nourished young people and paid for their education, but she believes he must answer her crimes.
"We have not forgotten his acts of kindness (...) But we have not forgotten how he abused us," says the woman under thirty years.
STRS / PB / LGO / MR
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