Don Giovanni Usai gets seven years imprisonment for abetting prostitution
When the Catholic Priest Don Giovanni Usai founded his “Il Samaritano” in the Italian autonomous region of Sardinia in 1983, his goal was to help drug addicts and women wanting out of prostitution. Don Usai took several helpless people into his community of Arborea in Sardinia, among them Nigerian women who were coming out of prostitution.

Sometime in 2010, when Don Usai was 67 years old, the Italian media circulated widely the arrest of this priest and subsequent charges of aiding and abetting prostitution as well as for the crime of sexual abuse. The case which has been ongoing in the last 10 years was finally decided yesterday, October 22, 2020. When the verdict came it wasn’t the acquittal Don Usai had worked assiduously for in the last 10 years. The judges in the case accepted the request of the prosecuting counsel Marco De Crescenzo and sentenced Don Usai to seven years imprisonment.

Don Usai was convicted of aiding and abetting prostitution and was acquitted of the crime of sexual abuse of the girls that were under his care. All the sexual encounters he had with the girls were all consensual, the court noted. Don Usai trouble started when he allowed the girls under his care to bring clients into the Arborea home. Because the area was close to the sea, it was easy for the girls to get clients through pimps and serviced them in the home while Don Usai turned a blind eye.

Investigators who worked on the case sensed that something was fishy. Their quest to discover a motive for Don Usai turning a blind eye to the prostitution racketeering going on right under his nose, soon yielded fruit. It was discovered that Don Usai knew what was going on and consented to it. The motive they discovered wasn’t for money but for sex. He was sleeping with the girls and for that reason he was powerless to stop them inviting their clients to the home.

AfroLife gathered that in the heat of the case in 2014, Don Usai on his way to one court hearing had a serious accident and had to be hospitalised. Two days to that incident, the priest had contact with two of the girls who were testifying for the prosecution against him. That move later formed part of the evidence that played out in court, as it became clear that the priest was trying to persuade the girls from testifying against him.

When the verdict was read out in court, Don Usai continued to maintain that he was innocent. His defence lawyer Anna Maria Uras, who had requested the acquittal of the priest over a “polluted trial,” indicated that her client would appeal the verdict. Two Nigerian men were convicted for their roles in the whole saga. One of them, Alphonsus Eze, got three years, for acting as a pimp who accompanied clients to the Il Smeritano.