Sebastian's testimony

I am Sebastian Cuattromo, I am 46 years old and I was a victim of sexual abuse at the age of 13.

The sexual abuse I suffered occurred in 1989 and 1990 at the Marianist School in the Caballito neighborhood of the City of Buenos Aires, where I attended as a student. My aggressor was a teacher and Catholic religious of that institution named Fernando Enrique Picciochi, who also sexually abused other children in that school.

For 10 years I could not put into words what happened, and I endured my adolescence with a feeling of profound loneliness, isolation and shame. And when evoking the multiple sufferings of that stage of my life, I feel that what stands out is the memory of a painful attitude of withdrawal, of a strong inhibition when developing affective relationships, which was not noticed by any of the adults who were around me, both at family and school level, and that did not have any context that made me feel that I could express that wound. Trauma that I suffered at the same time as the shameful adult collective behavior around the sexual abuse perpetrated by the famous coach "Bambino" Veira to the detriment of a boy of my own age at that time, a situation that was the object of scandalous trivialization in the media and in the stands of the soccer fields that I attended because I was a soccer kid.

When I was 23 years old, I was able to start talking about the abuse, and I was fortunate that my first interlocutor listened to my pain with attention, empathy and respect, an attitude that made it possible for a firm conviction to be born in me that what I had suffered was a crime and that I had to seek justice and reparation for what had happened.

Thus it was that in June 2000 I filed a criminal complaint against my aggressor, together with another of his victims from that Marianist School, in the National Court of Justice in the city of Buenos Aires.

In spite of filing the complaint 10 years after the abuses occurred, the facts, legally, had not prescribed. Thus began a huge personal odyssey that meant 12 long years of a hard and lonely fight as a victim and plaintiff in this criminal case, because my abuser was a fugitive from justice for years (in which gross institutional errors were committed in the search process, and that only came to light and were rectified due to my determined action and involvement). Until finally in 2012 a memorable and very emotional oral and public trial took place in the city of Buenos Aires that culminated with the sentencing to twelve years in prison of the now former Marianist brother Fernando Enrique Picciochi for the crime of "corruption of minors, reiterated".

At the same time, throughout this search for justice, I also succeeded in making the Marianist School assume its civil responsibility for this crime; a conquest for which I fought hard against an unacceptable attempt to silence what happened, which the Congregation of the Marianist Brothers wanted to impose on me, an attitude that had the regrettable endorsement of the Catholic hierarchy of the City of Buenos Aires in 2002, when it was headed by the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

I always dreamed that this long search for justice would have a sense of collective contribution and in 2012, on the occasion of the oral trial against my abuser, I began to make my story public, through interviews with various media outlets, to provide a testimony in defense of children in the face of this injustice.

This is how many adult survivors of this crime and protectors of child victims in the present began to contact me to share their stories and their desire to act in defense of children, a context in which I had the joy of meeting Silvia Piceda, who had also just made public her extraordinary story of struggle as a protective mother, with whom we created the civil association "Adultxs por los Derechos de la Infancia" and we fell in love, being a couple and family for years.

In this present of 2021 it is a great joy to share this injustice of my childhood from an adult reality where I am not alone, and in which together with my colleagues of "Adultxs" we are fulfilling the inexcusable adult obligation of defending children against this crime, carrying out permanent actions of public visibility and working daily in the construction of a collective and solidary network throughout Argentina, with the hopeful conviction that "to raise a child it takes a village".



Interview with Sebastián 

Learn about Sebastian's extraordinary struggle for reparations and justice, here.