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Madrid - A Spanish court handed a 302-year jail sentence on Friday to a karate champion for raping dozens of pupils at his martial arts school in the country's biggest ever paedophilia scandal.
Fernando Torres Banea held “orgies” involving minors at his school and chalet in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, telling his pupils that sex would make them better at karate, said judge Salvador Alba, reading out his ruling.
He sentenced Torres to 302 years' jail for 35 counts of sexual abuse and 13 of corrupting minors in a paedophile ring that raped and abused 40 children, some of them younger than 13.
Torres's wife Maria Jose Gonzalez was sentenced to 148 years and another karate teacher, Ivonne Gonzalez, to 126 years, after both were convicted of taking part in the abuse.
The three will likely serve 20 years at most, the maximum penalty for the crimes under Spanish law. The judge called that “insufficient” in his ruling.
Torres held “sex orgies in which young people not only had to have all kinds of sexual activities with him but were also made to do so with other pupils including minors, without regard for age, sex or the number of participants,” Alba said.
The 15 years of “mega-abuse” organised by Torres “was an unprecedented case in the judicial history” of Spain, the judge added.
In September 2012 one victim told the court how Torres had abused her when she was nine years old, while her mother was dying of an illness.
Psychologists ruled that Torres was not mentally ill but described him as a manipulative “pathological narcissist” who sought ruthlessly to “satisfy his need to be admired”.
“These repeated and indiscriminate deeds and abuse are unprecedented and must be firmly sanctioned for attacking not only the sexual liberty of the minors, but also their trust and hope in a clean, honourable, hundred-year-old sport,” the ruling said.
The court ordered the three convicts to pay from 10 000 to 50 000 euros ($13 000 to $65 000) in damages to each of their victims. - AFP