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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) - A pro-abortion and pro-LGBT Argentinian former supreme court judge who was investigated for renting out his apartments as a brothel has been appointed by Pope Francis to a Vatican entity operating within the framework of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.
Justice Raúl Eugenio Zaffaroni, handpicked by the pontiff to serve on the newly created body dealing with social rights and colonialism, sparked further outrage after he exempted a pedophile from prison for abusing an eight-year-old girl.
The judge argued that the act involved only oral sex and took place in the dark. Zaffaroni, a liberal judge in a supreme court dominated by conservative justices, endorses an "agnostic theory of punishment," which seeks to abolish prisons as punishment for crimes.
"I approve the creation of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Institute for Research and Promotion of Social Rights for academic, teaching and training purposes on the theme of social rights, migration and colonialism," Francis declared in a chirograph issued Friday.
The institute will be financially supported, directed and administered by the Pan American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine, which was created by the pontiff in June 2019 and operates under the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences led by Cdl. Peter Turkson.
"I appoint professors Raúl Eugenio Zaffaroni, Alberto Filippi and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco as the Founding Academic Board of the aforementioned institute for the period 2023–2028," Francis announced in the decree published by the Holy See Press Office.
Criminal complaints filed by La Alameda, an anti-mafia organization that fights human trafficking, slavery, child exploitation, pimping and drug trafficking, alleged in 2011 that six of Justice Zaffaroni's 15 rental properties were being used as brothels.
Gustavo Vera, the director of the anti-slavery campaign group, demanded an investigation into the supreme court judge, while the Argentinian news media Perfil broke the story.
Initial media reports revealed that Zaffaroni's studio apartment on the fifth floor of a building on 2200 Vicente López St. in Buenos Aires was being used for prostitution. Two or three girls per shift provided sexual services, charging 120 pesos ($29.20) per hour.
Neighbors told Perfil that the judge, who had owned the apartment since 2000, "never shows up," while another said that "prostitutes have been working for four years, but in the last two months they have arrived, bringing problems."
Investigators discovered that six of Zaffaroni's apartments were being used as brothels. In May 2013, Zaffaroni's attorney, Ricardo Montivero, took responsibility for managing the apartments and was fined 10,000 pesos. Zaffaroni claimed he was the victim of the rental contract.
"Far from clarifying the matter, Zaffaroni has gone to the media to divert attention and ensure that 'prostitution is not a crime,'" the periodical Tribuna commented, noting that the rent charged for the properties was three times the market price.
The column noted "the darker side" of Zaffaroni, who, although a brilliant jurist, could "not explain the simplest — and scandalous — contradictions in his private life."
Marcia González, a woman who ran four of the brothels, was killed in 2012 in a sinister road accident in Misiones. She was in a car with Angélica Duarte, who rented the other two apartments. Police found 135,000 pesos and 30,000 dollars in the smashed car.
The Chevrolet Aveo was driven by a former commissioner of the federal police, Juan José Cantero, the ex-husband of Angélica Duarte. Duarte suffered a blow to the scalp and a cut on her right hand.
Cantero "is the missing link that allows the chain to be put together. He was removed from his position for his alleged connections with pimps. He oversaw two police stations, in whose jurisdictions there are many brothels," Gustavo Vera told La Nacion.
In 1989, Zaffaroni ruled that Julio E. Tiraboschi, a doorman in Buenos Aires who took an eight-year-old girl into a toilet and inserted his penis into her mouth, asking her to guess which finger it was, was not guilty of serious sexual abuse deserving a prison sentence.
The judge argued that "restrictive interpretation that reduces rape only to vaginal or rectal carnal access, excluding penetration through the mouth," and that "oral penetration is not painful."
Justice Zaffaroni has also argued that "the criminal justice system in modern societies tries to channel vengeance rationally" and "in that sense, punitive power is a historical scam, the biggest scam in history."
He has also endorsed the marriage of homosexual couples and opposed the "penalization of abortion" in Argentina, stating that he has often considered taking part in LGBT marches.
"The penal code does not serve to prevent abortion and not even to reduce the enormous number of those that are practiced. The only thing it serves is so that the women of the poorest and most helpless stripe are subjected to the highest risks," Zaffaroni wrote.
"It is obvious that we all want a world without wars or genocide and also without abortions. However, we do not know how to achieve it, but what we do know is that it is not possible with the penal code," he noted.