Correction: Argentina-Priest Abuse

AP News
Posted: Sep 20, 2013 3:32 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — In a story Sept. 19 about a priest convicted of sexually abusing a boy, The Associated Press reported erroneously that it was Argentina's Supreme Court that upheld his 15-year prison sentence. The Supreme Court of Buenos Aires Province confirmed the sentence.

A corrected version of the story is below:

15-year term for Argentine priest sex abuse upheld

Buenos Aires Provincial Supreme Court confirms 15-year sex abuse term for 'Happy Children' priest


Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The Supreme Court of Buenos Aires Province has upheld the 15-year prison sentence of a priest convicted of sexually abusing a boy in his "Happy Children" foundation, prompting the victim's attorney on Thursday to call for the cleric's immediate arrest.

The Rev. Julio Cesar Grassi maintained his innocence during the appeal, continuing to live in a home across the street from the foundation despite the conviction and allegations he abused other children there. The court found him guilty of abusing one boy, with the rest of the charges dismissed for lack of evidence.

That victim's attorney, Juan Pablo Gallego, said Grassi should be arrested lest he try to escape now that his pedophilia conviction has been confirmed.

The court late Wednesday upheld Grassi's conviction for two cases of aggravated sexual abuse and a third of corruption committed against Gallego's client, who was a teenager in 1996.

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Gallego told the cable network Todo Noticias that Grassi is "a dangerous pedophile" who could try to escape. The priest's attorneys have made no comment on their client's current situation.

Over the past year, the priest was held under house arrest, and then was freed under certain conditions as his sentence was delayed pending the appeal's outcome.

Grassi was well known for his work as president of the Happy Children foundation, which operated several children's homes.

Through television appearances and other campaigns, Grassi raised millions of dollars for the foundation, many of the donations coming from prominent figures who distanced themselves from the priest after the allegations surfaced.