09 Mayo 2017 09:45
Children who were deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired, children who Kumiko was supposed to be caring for.
Instead, she is accused of aiding, abetting and covering up for priests who sexually abused children at the Antonio Provolo Institute in Luján de Cuyo, in the Mendoza province of Argentina.
Prosecutor Fabricio Sidoti believes that the number of abuse victims at the Antonio Provolo Institute could number 60, based on the testimonies collected
The scandal broke at the end of last year. Three members of institute staff were arrested, along with Rev. Nicola Corradi, 82 and Rev. Horacio Corbacho, 56. All five were accused of committing crimes of 'aggravated sexual abuse with carnal intrusion and oral sex' against at least 20 children.
Victims described situations in which children were forced to give the priests oral sex. Others were raped and beaten, according to testimonies.
At the centre of investigations was Corradi, who had arrived to Argentina in the 60s from the Antonio Provolo Institute in Verona. His abuses are alleged to have begun in Italy, and some have suggested that the Vatican sent him to Argentina for his own protection after more than a hundred accusations were made against priests and brothers at the Antonio Provolo Institute in Verona.
During the investigation in Argentina, a number of victims described a nun with 'Chinese features' who they accused of being the 'deliverer'. They called her 'the bad nun'.
During the course of six years, witnesses say, Kumiko played a significant role in the abuses carried out at the institute. She was 'the demon with the face of a woman' behind a series of rapes
The investigation led to the arrest of Kosaka Kumiko, a Japanese-born Catholic nun. Her family had emigrated to Argentina in 1977, and she worked at the Antonio Próvolo Institute from 2007 to 2012. Her task there was to take physical and spiritual care of the children, most of whom were deaf. For the victims, those years were a living hell.
Victims and prosecutors say the priests are accused of raping, sexually abusing, and fondling the students in bathrooms, dorms, a garden and a basement at the institute. One of the alleged victims said she witnessed how a girl was raped by one priest while the other forced her to give him oral sex.
'They always said it was a game: "Let’s go play, let’s go play" and they would take us to the girls’ bathroom,' said one of the women who claims she was abused at the school.
Another case that has caused particular outrage is that of a five-year-old-girl – now 17 – who was forced by Kumiko to wear a diaper in class to conceal the bleeding after she had been sexually assaulted by a priest.
During the course of six years, Kumiko played a significant role in the abuses carried out by Corradi, Corbacho, and others at the institute, witnesses and victims say. Lawyers called Kumiko 'the demon with the face of a woman' behind the abuse.
Victims accuse Kumiko of physical and emotional mistreatment. She is also charged with participating in the abuse and, together with the warden of the institute, of forcing the children to touch each other and watch pornography. Prosecutors allege that Kumiko targeted the most vulnerable and 'submissive' children, while covering up abuse by her superiors. Kumiko denies everything.
'I knew nothing of the abuses, I watched over the children. I’m innocent... I am a good person that has given my life to God,' she told the prosecutor during the nine-hour hearing on Thursday. She had turned herself in to authorities in Buenos Aires last week, after a month of being a fugitive.
Despite protesting her innocence, Kumiko has now been sent to a women's prison in Cacheuta. The investigation is ongoing, but if the 'bad nun' is found guilty of the crimes of which she is accused, she will face between 10 and 50 years in jail.