Former American Priest in East Timor Convicted of Sexual Abuse in Orphanage He Founded
In East Timor, an American priest who has been removed from office has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for abusing children in an orphanage he founded.
The process sparked great division in the deeply Catholic South Asian country.
At least 15 women accused 84-year-old Richard Daschbach of violently groping and sexually assaulting them as children in the Catholic institution in Oecusse, a Timorese enclave in Indonesia. The also accused reportedly kept a list of the children’s names who had spent the night with him.
An Oecusse court found the American priest, who was removed from office in 2018, guilty of multiple charges in the institution founded in 1990. He was initially sentenced to 37 years in prison, but that sentence was reduced to 12 years due to his advanced age.
The case has caused a lot of division in the former Portuguese colony, where Daschbach was a prominent figure for a long time. The church is a highly respected institution in East Timor, where 97 percent is Catholic. Many Timorese are questioning the charges, and many victims refuse to be identified for fear of reprisals.