Lisbon: The judges trying Portugal`s Casa Pia child abuse case said Friday the sex crimes alleged against all seven defendants had been proven, in the verdict read in the court.
In the opening of their verdict, the judges detailed dozens of charges of sex abuse and procuring minors for clients committed against 32 children at the Casa Pia home, which they considered to have been proven.
Friday`s verdict marked the end of a marathon trial that lasted almost six years. More than 800 witnesses and 32 alleged victims gave their testimonies against the seven defendants.
The case centered on sexual abuse of 32 children at the state-run Casa Pia children`s home, a 230-year-old institution that cares for about 4,500 children. The alleged crimes against 32 children at Casa Pia took place in the 1990s.
The seven defendants included a television celebrity, a retired ambassador and one woman, all of whom were accused of sexually abusing minors and running a paedophile ring at Casa Pia.
The 32 alleged victims testified about being raped by the defendants in cars and secluded houses and identified their alleged abusers by pointing to them across the courtroom.
While reading out the summary of the verdicts on more than 800 charges, the judges said most of the charges against the seven had been proven. Their sentencing is expected to take place later on Friday after the judges finish reading out the details of which defendants had been convicted on which charges.
One of the defendants, Carlos Silvino, a former driver at Casa Pia, had confessed to more than 600 charges relating to the abuse of children and procuring minors for wealthy clients. The other defendants protested their innocence.
The six other defendants included Carlos Cruz, a television presenter; Jorge Ritto, a decorated career diplomat and former UNESCO ambassador; Joao Ferreira Diniz, a doctor; Manuel Abrantes, a former Casa Pia Governor; Hugo Marcal, a lawyer; and Gertrudes Nunes, a 68-year-old woman accused of providing her house for meetings with the children.