Panama issues first conviction for abuse in children’s shelters

There are 20 underage victims, 18 investigations, and six defendants in the scandal, which has provoked widespread repudiation.

, Panama issues first conviction for abuse in children’s shelters

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A 54-year-old man was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday (07.04.2021) for abusing a 12-year-old girl in a Panama shelter, the first conviction to be handed down after a scandal broke out last February over abuse in these shelters.

The sentence was issued by the Court of Judgment of the province of Colon (Caribbean) against Blas Garcia Oses, who in 2018, when the facts occurred, was a manual laborer of a shelter located in that region.

, Panama issues first conviction for abuse in children’s shelters
There are 20 underage victims, 18 investigations, and six defendants in the scandal, which has provoked widespread repudiation. (Photo internet reproduction)

García Oses was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime of aggravated corruption of minors and 4 years for the crime of libidinous acts, adding up to a sentence of 14 years”, less than the 21 requested by the prosecution, in a “unanimous” decision of the three judges of the Court, said an official statement.

The court established as accessory penalties the “prohibition to work in parks, kindergartens, recreational areas where minors are concentrated, for a term of five years, once the main penalty has been served.”

A parliamentary subcommittee presented a report at the beginning of last February detailing that since 2015, dozens of minors were sexually abused and physically and psychologically mistreated in 14 shelters for children and adolescents.

According to official figures, the shelters, around half a hundred that house some 1,200 minors in vulnerable situations, are supervised by the state-run National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and Family (Senniaf) and also receive state subsidies.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office had maintained that before the presentation of the parliamentary report, it was already investigating several cases of abuse and embezzlement in shelters, among them the one that was sentenced today, according to a judicial source confirmed to the agency efe.

Source: DW