Portuguese state ordered to pay sexual abuse compensation

Date: 2006-03-09

RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon

[Presenter] The Portuguese state has been ordered to pay over 2m euros in compensation to pupils and former pupils of Casa Pia [state-run homes and schools for orphaned and at risk children] who said they had been sexually abused. This was the ruling from an arbitration tribunal, set up by Bagao Felix in 2004 when he was welfare minister.

These were separate proceedings from the well-known case currently under way in a Lisbon court - a further court session will be held this morning. [Passage omitted]

[Reporter] Of the 50 petitions received by the arbitration tribunal, 40 will receive compensation, three were rejected from the outset for procedural reasons, five were tried partially and two were deemed not to have enough grounds to proceed. The tribunal set up by the Durao Barroso government to hear the Casa Pia petitions, ruled that the youths had been sexually abused and that many of the cases had occurred due to the negligence of the institution. Hence, the tribunal awarded the 50,000-euro maximum compensation to each of the 40 pupils and former pupils who filed a petition. Five will receive a 25,000-euro compensation payment. In total the state will pay out 2m euros. Once they receive their payments, the victims will not be able to sue the state again. The three members of the tribunal, the judge Quirino Soares, the doctor Duarte Nuno Vieira and the lawyer Antonio Maria Pereira took about six months to deliberate on the 50 petitions and decide on the compensation.

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