Sunday, May 14, 2017

How can such awful discrimination and abuse against deaf people happen in 2017?

Two recent articles that can only be characterized as unbelievable and unforgivable:

Nun from Japan arrested for allegedly abusing deaf children in Argentina

A Roman Catholic nun from Japan has been arrested and charged on suspicion of helping priests sexually abuse children at a school for youths with hearing disabilities in Argentina, authorities said.

Kumiko Kosaka was also charged with physically abusing the students at the Antonio Provolo Institute for children with hearing impairment in northwestern Mendoza province.

Local media showed the 42-year-old nun in handcuffs and wearing her habit and a bulletproof vest as she was escorted by police to a court hearing. Kosaka, who was born in Japan but has Argentine citizenship, denied any wrongdoing during the eight-hour hearing late Thursday.

Authorities say that Kosaka lived at the Provolo Institute from 2004-2012. She had been on the run for about a month before she turned herself in last week.

The case against the nun was launched after a former student accused her of making her wear a diaper to cover up a hemorrhage after she was allegedly raped by priest Horacio Corbacho.

Corbacho, fellow priest Nicola Corradi and three other men were arrested last year after they were charged with sexually abusing at least two dozen students at the Provolo Institute. They are being held at a jail in Mendoza and have not spoken publicly since the arrest. If found guilty, the accused face 10 to 50 years in prison.

Corradi had earlier been accused in Italy of abusing students at the Provolo Institute in Verona, a notorious school for the deaf where hundreds of children are believed to have been sexually assaulted over the years by two dozen priests and religious brothers.

Advocates for clerical sex abuse victims have expressed anger that Corradi wasn’t sanctioned by the Vatican and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis’ native Argentina.

Victims and prosecutors say the anal and vaginal rapes, fondling and oral sex allegedly committed by the priests took place in the bathrooms, dorms, garden and a basement at the school in Lujan de Cuyo, a city about 1,000 km (620 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires.

A Vatican investigative commission recently visited Mendoza to learn more about the case against the priests.

Source: The Japan Times, 5/6/17.

Deaf Japanese tourist denied interpreter at Honolulu airport: ACLU

A deaf Japanese tourist was illegally denied a sign-language interpreter while detained and interrogated after landing at the Honolulu International Airport, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii said in a discrimination complaint.

The ACLU said Thursday it filed the complaint last month with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Her name is redacted from a copy of the complaint the ACLU provided. She fears retaliation by immigration officials, the ACLU said.

She arrived in Honolulu on the morning of Jan. 31 to visit her boyfriend. Customs and Border Protection officials took her into an office to question her about her past as an international student in the United States, according to the complaint.

She requested an American Sign Language interpreter, but during hours of questioning she was forced to communicate by lip-reading and writing in English, the complaint said. In the late afternoon, she was handcuffed and taken to the Honolulu Federal Detention Center, where she was put into a cell overnight. “She was handcuffed behind her back, so there was no way for her to use her hands,” the complaint said. “When detaining deaf individuals, it is appropriate to modify handcuffing practices to allow such individuals to use their hands to communicate with signs or in writing.”

That’s equivalent to silencing her, said Mateo Caballero, legal director for ACLU of Hawaii. “She was treated like a criminal,” he said.

Customs and Border Protection received the complaint and will address the accusations after an investigation, agency spokesman Jaime Ruiz said in a statement, adding that accusations of mistreating travelers with a disability are taken seriously. Officers “receive extensive training in disability awareness and treat all travelers with disabilities with dignity, respect and professionalism,” the statement said.

At the airport, customs officials took away her cellphone, so she wasn’t able to alert her boyfriend, who waited 12 hours for her at a cafe near the airport, the complaint said.

At the detention center, which is near the airport, she again asked for an American Sign Language interpreter, but didn’t receive one, the complaint said. Instead, staff members tried to ask her questions by using a Japanese translator on the phone, but the woman can’t hear people talking on the phone, the complaint said.

“She felt humiliated,” the complaint said.

The Bureau of Prisons, which oversees the detention center, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The next day, she was taken to the airport for a flight back to Japan and her cell phone was returned. That’s when she was finally able to let her family in Japan and her boyfriend know where she was, the complaint said.

Source: The Japan Times, 5/12/17.

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