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Prison chaplain arrested for alleged inmate sex abuse

Probes began last June and filmed priest's modus operandi

20 November, 19:40
Prison chaplain arrested for alleged inmate sex abuse (ANSA) - Milan, November 20 - Police arrested the chaplain of the San Vittore prison in Milan, Father Alberto Barin, on Tuesday for alleged sexual abuse and bribery involving six detainees.

Probes began last June following complaints by a prisoner that the 51-year-old chaplain had forced inmates into sexual acts in exchange for basic necessities like soap and toothbrushes. Hidden cameras placed in Barin's office from June to October by investigators filmed the chaplain in the act of abusing inmates.

The victims were young African immigrants between 22 and 28 serving sentences for petty crimes with the exception of one man who was in prison for homicide.

A victim of earlier abuse from 2008 also came forward.

Only one of the detainees refused to talk to investigators, but surveillance cameras filmed him being abused by Barin.

Investigators said that Barin "used his position, its functions, its powers and even his daily proximity to prisoners to fulfil almost obsessively his sexual impulses". The Milan Curia expressed "confidence in the work of the investigators," willingness to cooperate with the investigation and expressed "confusion and pain" over the abuse.

Investigators said that many detainees spoke of Barin "with a sort of awe" and saw him as "extremely powerful and influential".

Prosecutors and investigators are also making inquiries into the possible abuse of other inmates by the priest both in and outside of the prison.