It has been billed as Portugal’s trial of the century. The Casa Pia affair – a child abuse case involving a state run orphanage, TV personalities and diplomats – finally goes to court on Thursday. Six men and one woman will stand trial in Lisbon, accused of sexually abusing 32 youngsters.
The prosecutor said he expects the trial will take place in a calm atmosphere. To try and help, the number of journalists at the proceeding has been restricted to about 15. Carlos Silvino – known as Bibi – a former employee of Casa Pia is accused of running a male child prostitution ring. Carlos Cruz, Portugal’s most famous media personality, is another of the defendants. He faces five charges of sexually abusing minors. The scandal broke in September 2002 when the mother of one alleged victim complained of abuse by staff at a Casa Pia home.