Isolated cases of child sexual abuse have, time and time again, proven to be the tip of the iceberg in societies where individuals or groups of victims have had the courage to speak out. In Argentina, things seem no different.
Following the recent revelations of a child prostitution ring at the Independiente football club in which men in positions of power are alleged to have exchanged favours or money for sex with youth players, the iconic River Plate club is now in a similar position.
At least three minors, former youth players at River Plate, were sexually abused at the club’s accomodation facilities, a criminal complaint lodged Monday morning by the NGO Asociación de Víctimas de Violación (AVIVI) has revealed.
“We still do not know the terms of the complaint but of course we are at the disposal of the Judiciary and of the complainants in order to properly investigate everything”, Ignacio Villarroel, River’s secretary general, told La Nación Monday morning.
AVIVI received information about the alleged abuse 20 days ago but decided to finally lodge a criminal complaint following information provided by a former health care worker at the club. AVIVI said the three minors were allegedly abused from 2004-11.
“A woman who was a medical surgeon at River Plate for seven years came forward to support the accusations that some families from outside Buenos Aires had made. She worked (at River Plate) until 2011/2012. She knew there had been abuse of children who lived at the club’s accomodation facilities. There were rumours that a person would approach (the facility) three times per week and would abuse the boys”, AVIVI’s lawyer Andrés Bonicalzi told Radio Provincia.
The case is currently in the hands of prosecutor José María Campagnoli.
River Plate said in a brief statement that club officials will go before the prosecutor's office on Tuesday, "to understand the full extent of the complaint and provide authorities and accusers with all elements available to clarify this situation."