Argentine priest banned from priestly duties” & related article

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CORRECTS ARGENTINA'S SUPREME COURT TO BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE SUPREME COURT - FILE - In this June 10, 2009 file photo, Argentine Catholic priest  Julio Cesar Grassi talks to reporters as he leaves a courthouse after being found guilty of sexual abuse in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  On Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires Province upheld the 15-year prison sentence for Grassi, convicted of sexually abusing a boy in his "Happy Children Foundation." The victim's attorney called f
CORRECTS ARGENTINA’S SUPREME COURT TO BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE SUPREME COURT – FILE – In this June 10, 2009 file photo, Argentine Catholic priest Julio Cesar Grassi talks to reporters as he leaves a courthouse after being found guilty of sexual abuse in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires Province upheld the 15-year prison sentence for Grassi, convicted of sexually abusing a boy in his “Happy Children Foundation.” The victim’s attorney called f — AP

— A Roman Catholic priest who is serving a 15-year jail sentence in Argentina for sexually abusing a boy has been banned from performing priestly duties.

The bishopric of Moron in western Buenos Aires announced the prohibition affecting Father Julio Cesar Grassi on Tuesday.

Church officials said any further decision about the priest would await final action on his appeal in Argentina’s courts.

Well-known for persuading Argentine celebrities to donate to the Happy Children Foundation, Grassi was transferred to a maximum security prison Tuesday, a day after he began serving his sentence.

Grassi had previously been free despite charges of abusing the teenager in 1996.

He continued living across the street from the orphanage after his 2009 conviction while he appealed. Grassi was taken into custody Monday after the top provincial court upheld his sentence.

The 57-year-old priest says he’s innocent. He will now make his final appeal to Argentina’s Supreme Court from prison.

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Argentine priest Julio Grassi jailed over sexual abuse

BBC News Latin America & Caribbean

23 September 2013

 

Julio Cesar Grassi, June 2009

Grassi described the accusations against him were as a cross he had to carry

 

 

A prominent Roman Catholic priest in Argentina has been jailed, four years after being convicted of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

 

A court in Buenos Aires province rejected an appeal by Father Julio Cesar Grassi, who has been sentenced to 15 years in jail, to remain under house arrest.

 

He was convicted in 2009 of abusing the boy at his “Happy Children” foundation.

 

He insists he is innocent and says the case is based on false evidence.

 

“In my life, all I have done was to help the children in need,” he said at the criminal court in the city of Moron.

 

“The prosecutors have lied and set up a case against me.”

‘Out of control’

Prosecutor Alejandro Varela argued that there was a risk that the priest would escape if he was not detained.

 

Three courts in Argentina had already confirmed his 2009 conviction, before the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires province ratified the 15-year prison sentence last week.

 

“To leave Grassi free is almost like colluding with his crime,” said Mr Varela.

 

After a hearing which ended with an emotional plea by Father Grassi, the criminal court in Moron unanimously ordered his “immediate detention”.

 

He was taken to a nearby jail.

 

“I am in peace, I believe in God,” Father Grassi said.

 

A lawyer for the prosecution, Juan Pablo Gallego, described him as “a convicted paedophile, who is out of control”.

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