SANTO DOMINGO – A court in the Dominican Republic on Thursday sentenced a priest to a year behind bars after convicting him of sexually abusing and then murdering a teenage boy, the defendant’s lawyer told reporters.
Elvin Taveras Duran, charged with murdering 16-year-old Fernely Carrion, whom he had also sexually abused, according to the boy’s family.
Carrion’s body turned up on Monday, four days after he had gone to meet the priest who, allegedly, was going to give him some money.
At the court session in Santo Domingo province, to which the press was not allowed access, the priest “remained silent at all times,” according to what attorney Miguel Liria Gonzalez told reporters after leaving the courtroom.
The lawyer said that he will study the possibility of appealing the sentence, but he did not go so far as to call it “extreme,” given that – he told reporters – such a sentence is set forth in the Dominican Criminal Code.
“It was a judge that handed it down. I have to accept it. The only thing I can do is appeal it or not,” said Liria Gonzalez, who added that he will present “all the evidence” favorable to his client should he proceed to appeal the verdict.
The Public Ministry had asked for a year in prison for the defendant.
The case has been dealt with under tight secrecy and the National Police have not discussed the case in the daily reports they send to the media.
After preliminary information on the crime was released, shocking the public, the Santo Domingo Archdiocese announced on Tuesday the suspension of Taveras Duran’s priestly office.
At the same time, it expressed its willingness “to cooperate with the investigation of the case and the judicial process” and asked the authorities “based on the truth of the facts to implement the punishment set forth in the Criminal Code.”
The archdiocese apologized to the Carrion family in a statement.
The parents and other relatives of Carrion accused Taveras Duran of the crime, after which – they said – he “confessed” to authorities that he had killed the boy “with a machete and a knife.”
In remarks to reporters, Freddy Carrion, Fernely’s father, said that the priest “became filled with jealousy” because the teen began to publish photos on the social networks of himself and his girlfriend.