In East Timor, an American priest who was removed from office has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for abusing children in an orphanage he founded. The operation caused a major split in the Catholic country of South Asia.
At least 15 women have accused 84-year-old Richard Daschbach of molesting and sexually assaulting them as children at a Catholic institution in Oikos, a Timorese enclave in Indonesia. The accused reportedly kept a list of the children who spent the night with him.
A court in Oecusse ruled that the American pastor, who was fired in 2018, guilty of several charges in the institution founded in 1990. He was initially sentenced to 37 years in prison, but due to his advanced age, this sentence was reduced to 12 years.
The affair caused a major split in the former Portuguese colony, where Daschbach had been a prominent figure for a long time. The church is a highly respected institution in East Timor, where 97 percent of the population is Catholic. Many Timorese dispute the accusations, and many victims refuse to reveal their identity for fear of reprisals.
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